Vikings Defensive MVP: Week 13 vs. the Atlanta Falcons

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) Xavier Rhodes
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) Xavier Rhodes /

Minnesota Vikings corner Xavier Rhodes continued to prove why he is among the NFL’s best at his position on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

For much of the week leading up to their matchup on Sunday, there was a bunch of talk about the showdown between Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Both are among the NFL’s elite at their position and many thought it would be the battle to watch this weekend.

Thanks to the play of Rhodes, however, Sunday’s matchup between the two superstars ended up in the favor of the veteran Vikings corner.

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With Rhodes lined up on him for most of the day, Jones only managed to haul in two passes for 24 yards on six targets. This is just a week after the Atlanta receiver finished with 12 catches for 253 yards and two touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Jones is just the latest NFL receiver in 2017 to find out that the “Rhodes” are indeed closed when facing Minnesota. This season, the Vikings corner has shut down some of the best pass-catchers in the league from Antonio Brown, to Mike Evans, to Michael Thomas, and now Julio Jones.

Thanks to the superb play, once again, from Rhodes, the Vikings were able to get a big 14-9 win over Jones and the Falcons this week. With the victory, Minnesota is now 10-2 and among the top contenders to represent the NFC in this year’s Super Bowl.

Next: Vikings' ups and downs vs. the Falcons

For Rhodes, his 2016 season resulted in him getting an invite to the Pro Bowl for the very first time in his career. The way the Vikings corner has been playing in 2017, this may be the year he is a part of the NFL’s All-Pro Team for the first time in his career.