Xavier Rhodes shining bright in first season away from Vikings

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) Xavier Rhodes
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) Xavier Rhodes /

The former Minnesota Vikings corner has performed well so far this season.

Back in 2017 with the Minnesota Vikings, Xavier Rhodes was arguably the best cornerback in the NFL. Rhodes consistently shut down the league’s top receivers and it resulted in him earning a First-Team All-Pro selection.

Unfortunately, Rhodes saw his performance trend in the wrong direction during his next two seasons with the Vikings and the team ultimately decided to let him go earlier this year.

After seven seasons with Minnesota, Rhodes ended up signing a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts. So far this season, the former Vikings cornerback is looking more like the guy from 2017.

Former Minnesota Vikings corner excelling in his new home

Following another disappointing performance in 2019, most assumed Rhodes’ time in the NFL was nearing the end. But his play out on the field during the first three games of the 2020 season seems to indicate that he still has plenty left in the tank.

Rhodes was solid during the Colts’ first two matchups of the year (including their Week 2 win over Minnesota), but he looked like the younger version of himself on Sunday against the New York Jets.

On the fifth play of the game, Jets quarterback Sam Darnold tossed a pass that landed right in the hands of the former Vikings cornerback. Rhodes then took the ball and returned it 44 yards in the other direction for an Indianapolis touchdown.

A little later in the matchup, the veteran corner got his hands on another Darnold pass that was intended for a New York pass-catcher in the end zone. Rhodes’ performance on Sunday helped lead the Colts to an easy 36-7 win over the Jets.

He’s only been on the field for three games this season, so it’s still possible that Rhodes could end up looking more like he did for Minnesota in 2018 and 2019.

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So far, however, he’s making the Vikings look like they made the wrong decision to let him go this offseason. Especially since Minnesota currently has the NFL’s third-worst pass defense as they head into Week 4.