Draft and Trade Talk Message Board
Close call. Rudolph is just in his 3rd season and he's an incredible physical specimen. The problem is his offense and...more immediately...his QB. Ponder shows little promise of developing NFL skills. Olsen on the other hand is the number 2 target in a reasonable offense. I'm with Chris: despite all the logic leaning Olsen's way I just like Rudolph's physical gifts too much not to draft him ahead of Olsen.
To me this depends on how comfortable you are with the rest of your starters. If you don't need a consistent 7-10 points from your TE each week, I'd go with Rudolph.
Allow me to go geek on you for a moment. The following is based on a PPR league, 6 pts per TD, 1 point per 10 yards receiving:
Olsen averaged 11.06 points-per-game, vs Rudolph's 9.37. Not a big dropoff really, but the difference is that Rudolph had zero points in three games. When Rudolph was bad, he was baaaaaaaad. In addition to the skunk games, he had four more games with five or fewer points. Olsen scored in every game, and only had three games with five or fewer points.
If you need consistent points from your TE, go with Olsen. If you can afford a fewer stinker games from Rudolph, you can reap the rewards when he becomes the TD machine. He crossed the line nine times last year, compared to only five for Olsen.
Olsen has proven what he's worth, and I really feel we've seen all he has to offer. If you are the type of owen who sides with potential I'd take Rudolph. He's bound to become a bigger part of the passing game, and although the Vikes' offense lives and dies with AP, I think Rudolph will see more targets this year. He was criticized for dropping passes last year, but he had one of the best (if not the best) Red Zone completion percentages in the league. When TD's are on the line, the guy catches the ball.
Not sure if it means anything, but I hope this helps.