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Xavier Rhodes Latches onto AFC Contender

Xavier Rhodes Latches onto AFC Contender
Nov 21, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Indianapolis Colts cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

Xavier Rhodes elected to join former Minnesota Vikings players Zach Davidson (TE), Stefon Diggs (WR), and Case Keenum (QB) with the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday.

Rhodes last played for the Vikings in 2019.

In Minnesota, Rhodes was a standout shutdown corner for a handful of seasons, becoming a Viking in the 2013 NFL Draft. Arguably at the peak of his power in 2016 and 2017, Rhodes anchored the Vikings CB room from 2013 to 2019 before venturing to the Indianapolis Colts in 2020 via free agency. Along with Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, and Trae Waynes, Rhodes bolted after the 2019 campaign, and Minnesota’s defense never fully recovered.

Xavier Rhodes May Join Super Bowl Contender
Sep 29, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports.

The connection between Buffalo and the Vikings? Easy — Leslie Frazier, the Bills defensive coordinator. Rhodes spent one year with Frazier on the Vikings in 2013 as Rhodes was a rookie, and Frazier was in his final season as Minnesota’s head coach. And, so often, those ties in sports matter.

With the 2022 season only three weeks old, the Bills have encountered a litany of injuries to defensive backs, including Christian Benford (CB), Micah Hyde (S), Dane Jackson (CB), Jordan Poyer (S), and Tre’Davious White (CB). The Bills brought Rhodes aboard out of sheer necessity.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) grabs a big reception as he is defended by Indianapolis Colts cornerback Xavier Rhodes. © Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Even though the Bills lost in Week 3 to the undefeated Miami Dolphins, they’re still the frontrunner to win Super Bowl LVII in February, according to sportsbooks. Buffalo isn’t a team that sits around and hopes for the best with players recovering from injury, hence the move for Rhodes to bolster roster depth.

While Rhodes wasn’t too effective in his final season with the Vikings, he did rebound commendably with the Colts in 2020 and 2021. Here’s his resume from Pro Football Focus:

  • 2013: 64.6
  • 2014: 68.8
  • 2015: 61.4
  • 2016: 73.8
  • 2017: 74.7
  • 2018: 58.2
  • 2019: 46.4
  • 2020: 76.3
  • 2021: 61.8

Through Week 3, the Bills rank first in the NFL per passing rating allowed, second in defensive EPA/Play, and sixth in passing yards allowed.

Rhodes will see his old team, the Vikings, in Buffalo on November 13th at Highmark Stadium.

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Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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