Xavier Rhodes – CB
There’s really no way to sugarcoat it, Xavier Rhodes had a down season a year ago. He wasn’t nearly the shutdown corner he’d been in seasons past and plenty of questions arose about his overall health.
There were times when Rhodes was seen limping off the field, but then Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer would assure the media he was just fine after the game. Minnesota fans were vocal on social media this offseason saying the All-Pro corner has lost a step and some even called for him to get traded.
If Rhodes was truly hurt last year, he’s had more than enough time to recover. He looked fine in the Vikings’ first couple of preseason games this summer, but then he had a very questionable performance against the Cardinals.
Rhodes was getting beat by a receiver buried on Arizona’s depth chart named Damiere Byrd. The veteran corner was missing routine tackles and he was out of position, allowing the Byrd to get the best of him.
Rhodes came up a couple of times looking gimpy, but maybe he just was disinterested in playing a meaningless game. Whatever the reason, he has a lot to prove and his performance against the Cardinals only raised more doubt.
Rhodes has fared well against Falcons receiver Julio Jones in the past and he’ll quiet his naysayers if he shuts down the talented pass catcher once again. Rhodes needs to get back to his shutdown corner ways this Sunday because truth be told, he was becoming a liability towards the end of last season.