Former Vikings All-Pro corner Xavier Rhodes is signing a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Rhodes became a free agent on March 13th after being released in a move that created $8.1 million in cap space for the Vikings. Rhodes is a three-time Pro Bowler and a former first-team All-Pro, but his play declined drastically over the past two seasons, making it an easy decision for the Vikings to part ways with him.
Simply put, Rhodes was not an asset to the Vikings' secondary in 2019. By many advanced statistical measures, including PFF grade and opponent passer rating when targeting him as the primary defender, Rhodes was one of the ten worst corners in the NFL last season. He was still selected to the Pro Bowl, but that was evidently based off of name recognition and not his on-field accomplishments.
It was a remarkable fall from grace for a player who was arguably the most dominant corner in the league just three seasons ago. Rhodes was named a first-team All-Pro in 2017 after he shut down a bevy of elite receivers. His combination of size, physicality, and movement ability allowed him to shine in man coverage and frequently convinced opposing quarterbacks to look elsewhere.
Rhodes was drafted No. 25 overall by the Vikings in 2013. The Florida State product became a full-time starter in his second season and posted a career-high 18 passes defended. He recorded five of his ten career interceptions in 2016 – including a 100-yard pick-six – and made his first Pro Bowl.
But after reaching the pinnacle of performance in 2017, Rhodes's play declined in 2018 and fell off a cliff last year. He has dealt with injuries and has perhaps been hurt by officiating adjustments that have caused his physical style of play to be flagged more frequently than it was in the past.
Rhodes, who turns 30 in June, will look to revive his career in Indianapolis and prove he still has something left in the tank.
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