Thanks to his generous work in the community, Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph was awarded the team’s 2017 Man of the Year award at Winter Park earlier on Thursday and was presented a check for $50,000 that will go toward “Kyle Rudolph’s End Zone,” an interactive family area at Masonic Children’s Hospital.
This is the first time Rudolph has received the honor. Chad Greenway, who retired in the offseason, earned the distinction each of the previous three years.
“The Twin Cities are home for my wife Jordan and I and are our girls,” Rudolph told reporters, “so we just want to make this place better when we leave it.”
From the team’s press release:
“In 2011, Rudolph began his work at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital by attending various events with other Vikings players to help support children and their families through tough times. He immediately knew that he wanted to do more to provide any type of assistance he could that might make a positive difference, and in 2015, he began sponsoring and hosting his own ‘Holiday Huddles’ — events that help enable those who cannot leave the hospital to celebrate major holidays with their families in a unique and memorable way.”
Rudolph donated $250,000 to kick off funding for the “End Zone.” He then funded “Rudy’s Red Eye Express” in 2016 to give children and their families a fun Christmas experience.
Inspired by a younger brother, Casey, who beat cancer as an infant, Rudolph has always been passionate about children’s organizations, and that feeling has only been strengthened since the birth of his twin girls last October.
“I don’t know that I would be strong enough like the parents and patients that are in there that we visit to have to check one of my kids into a children’s hospital,” said Rudolph.
The sixth-year tight end also sits on the American Cancer Society’s Athlete Council, is a board member for the charity Hannah & Friends, participates in the Minnesota Muscle Team within the Muscular Dystrophy Association and supports the Starkey Hearing Foundation.
Rudolph will be in the running to win the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award, which will be announced at Super Bowl LII.