Kyle Rudolph brought to tears by letters from thankful families he's inspired, is Vikings' 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee

He's the Vikings' 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee.
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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 letters of thanks brought the burly NFL player to tears, and the video produced by the Vikings Entertainment Network will undoubtedly do the same to you. 

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. 

"Both Jordan and I are extremely passionate about kids and anything that we can do to help kids be just that," Rudolph said. "They’re not in the circumstances they’re in for a reason. 

"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."

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