Podcast Ep 15: Kyle Rudolph, NFL Tight End and Minnesota Viking

Navigating the NFL and Performance Over the Long Run

With the NFL draft starting up tomorrow, we thought it was perfect timing to share our conversation with Kyle Rudolph — NFL Tight End and 9 year veteran of the Minnesota Vikings (the team to which he was drafted in 2011). Kyle is a two-time Pro Bowler, a two-time nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, and is 2nd All-Time in the Viking Organization for receptions and receiving yards. As a lifelong fan of the sport, it’s really a privilege to talk about football with someone who’s played at such a high level, and particularly someone as thoughtful as Kyle with his approach to training and the game. He’s a really great guy and I’m proud to know him.

In this episode, Kyle and I discuss things like his routine throughout the season and in the offseason, the player-coach dynamic, the thrill of going for it on 4th down, his thoughts on Tom Brady heading to Tampa, and how he’s preparing for his life after the NFL.

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Show Notes:

3:30 – Routine “I feel like when December and January roll around, when I’ve stuck to my routine, I’m playing my best football at the end of the year.”

6:30 – The OffSeason “If I’m going into an off-season with no bumps or bruises, no lingering effects from the season, it’s like ‘okay, I feel like I’m already at a head start’ because now I’m able to build on what I’ve put together over the last year in terms of building my fitness, building my strength, and building my endurance.”

13:00 – Player Coach Dynamic “Rarely are we playing meaningless football at the end of December…and you see these teams that are able to withstand success year in and year out.”

19:00 – Market Size & Professional Sports Franchises “That is one thing about the NFL, it doesn’t matter the market. You have the same amount of dollars to spend. You gotta divide that however you decide, throughout the course of your 53 man roster and make the best team each and every year.”

23:30 – Going for it on 4th Down “Most people would have been on the side of ‘there’s no way, you have to kick the field goal here, you have to take the points.’ But they ended up going for it and Lamar Jackson scored a touchdown and they won the game…you don’t let analytics or a system get in the way of the talent you have.”

30:00 – Tom Brady to Tampa “It’ll be very interesting to see how [Tom Brady and Bill Belichick] kind of find their way without one another.”

36:00 – Life After the NFL “While you’re playing is the best time to figure out what you want to do after football.”

43:00 – Expectations “I remember being in the 7th or 8th grade… sitting on the couch with my Dad watching a UNC vs. Duke basketball game, way back in the day, and telling him, ‘I’m going to play sports in college’… and he kind of looked at me, you know, and didn’t want to shut his 13-year-old son’s dream down but was just very matter of fact and was like ‘you know these guys are really good?’”

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