New Giants TE Kyle Rudolph expects to be ready for Week 1 after foot surgery: 'I won’t miss any football'

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Scott Thompson
·4 min read
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Kyle Rudolph during Zoom interview
Kyle Rudolph during Zoom interview

To say the last 24 hours for new Giants TE Kyle Rudolph was a bit hectic is an understatement. There was a chance he wouldn't be called "new Giants tight end" at all after doctors found that he needed foot surgery from his injury back on Dec. 6 during his physical.

Luckily for both sides, Rudolph's two-year pact worth $12 million with $4.5 million guaranteed was set in stone and he is officially heading to New York. He will receive surgery on that foot, and Rudolph fully expects to be ready for Week 1 next season.

"It was certainly an interesting 24 hours, one that was unexpected. But to answer your question, no," Rudolph told the media on Wednesday when asked if he was nervous the deal would fall through. "It’s kinda a blessing that we’re able to find this issue. It was an issue from the season. We can fix it in March and I won’t miss any football."

If the deal did fall through, Rudolph would've taken it hard because this was the team out of the "12, 13 options" that he knew he needed to go to next.

And it wasn't an easy decision at all. After being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round back in the 2011 NFL Draft, all Rudolph has known i the purple and gold. He spent 10 seasons with them, racking up 4,488 yards on 453 receptions with 48 career touchdowns.

Moving on from that is a tough transition, but after speaking with head coach Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, Rudolph told his wife immediately that New York was the right destination.

"I remember telling my wife, we were sitting at lunch with our two-year-old son and I had just got off the phone with coach Judge and Coach Garett and at that point there were 12, 13 different options and I knew New York was the place I needed to be," Rudolph explained. "This was the team, this was the organization that we needed to go to next. As soon as I hung up the phone, I knew this was the perfect fit.”

Rudolph knows that the Giants' tight ends room is also full of talent, especially with Pro Bowler Evan Engram still on board. But being the team-first veteran that he is, Rudolph addressed Kaden Smith and Levine Toilolo, too, when asked about complementing Engram o. the field.

"I really look forward to working with Evan," he said. "I think we can complement each other very, very well. Obviously he does things that I can’t even imagine of doing. But then you look throughout the rest of our room with Kaden and Levine and everybody that we have, we have four guys that can really go out and play at a high level."

Heading into Year 11 in the NFL, Rudolph's numbers the past couple seasons haven't been what they were in his prime years. He hasn't topped 400 yards in the last two campaigns, but Rudolph had an answer for those questioning that.

And it makes perfect sense. Rudolph has had Dalvin Cook in his offense, so blocking became a priority for the Vikings.

"It’s simple. You can just look at my role and what I was asked to do. Just turn on the tape and watch what I was doing," he said.

But that works in his favor with the Giants, who will have Saquon Barkley -- a dynamic back like Cook -- returning after his knee injuries. His blocking has improved because of that role change, and he certainly will have an opportunity to prove that this season.

And make no mistake: Daniel Jones will also be looking his way a lot in the red zone, as he's still a guy that can really go up and haul in passes over smaller defenders.

"You’re not going to get a guy to schematically come wide open in the end zone, you don’t see it very often," he said. "From time to time you may, but most of the time red zone scoring is bang-bang passes and it takes trust from a quarterback. ‘Hey, I can throw this ball into a tight window and I know that either Kyle is going to catch it or no one is going to catch it.’"

Before he catches anything, though, Rudolph will focus on healing his foot properly. After that's complete, he looks forward to going to war with his new band of brothers in blue and white this time.

"I couldn’t be more excited to be a New York Giant, to be apart of this team, apart of this locker room and be a part of this community."