When tight end Kyle Rudolph looks down the line of scrimmage he is happy to see a familiar face in John Carlson, another tight end the Minnesota Vikings acquired this off season.
"I didn't play with John at Notre Dame, but John recruited me and anytime I visited I was with John," Rudolph said. "It's great to play with him. He's going to bring a lot to our offense. That helps us win football games."
College connections aside, this move for the purple and gold is a sign of change in the National Football League, which is seeing a greater number of teams use two tight end systems in their offenses.
"That position has evolved to the point where you have to pay attention to the tight ends," coach Leslie Frazier said. "And if you get a couple quality guys like we think we have, it creates some mismatches for defenses and match ups with linebackers and safeties."
The Notre Dame pair will be key for a young Vikings offense looking to improve from last season's 18th place ranking.
"With that tandem alone I think it gives us a chance to have options for our young quarterback including what were going try to do outside," Frazier said. "It gives us a couple bookend tight ends that can create pressure on defenses in the passing game as well as the run blocking."
"I think there are a number of pieces in place that make it an intriguing offense for a tight end to play in," Carlson said. "An effective established running game is a tight end's friend for play action pass."
With a challenging NFC north division to battle through this season, the luck of the Irish may just be what the Vikings need to compete in 2012.
"John is going to be a great addition for us," Frazier said. "He's an accomplished guy in our league. Kyle of course we have high hopes for. We really think he's going to be a premiere tight end in our league. We feel great about our tight end position."