Kyle Rudolph’s contributions to Minnesota communities has been recognized as the veteran tight end is the team’s 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee.
In advance of being informed of the recognition, the Vikings surprised Rudolph with a stack of letters from families he’s inspired with countless trips to see children battling extreme adversity in hospitals.
The Walter Payton Man of the Year award is given to a player for community service efforts in addition to excellence on the field.
Last year, Rudolph and his wife, Jordan, opened a 2,500-square-foot play area for kids at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. Dubbed “Kyle Rudolph’s End Zone,” the play area provides a space for children to get out of hospital rooms and experience normalcy.
“These diseases and cancers that they’re fighting don’t discriminate. They didn’t choose to have their childhood taken away from them – I think the biggest thing that we try to do is provide these kids with an opportunity to be kids.”