Former Vikings Star Heads to Dallas for Playoffs

Sep 23, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Earlier this week, the Buffalo Bills released former Vikings All-Pro CB Xavier Rhodes after playing him in just two games this season. In his place, they signed S Jared Mayden. Now, about three days later, the Dallas Cowboys snagged the former Vikings star by signing him to their practice squad just before the playoffs get started.

Rhodes obviously got his NFL career started in Minnesota when the Vikings drafted him 25th overall in the 2013 Draft. He appeared in 13 games as a rookie, making six starts at corner for the Vikings. He recorded 48 tackles, 1 TFL, 10 pass defenses, and a forced fumble.

Former Vikings Star Heads to Dallas for Playoffs
Dec 1, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver DeVante Parker (1) runs with the ball Buffalo Bills cornerback Xavier Rhodes (29) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

After that season, Rhodes became a full-time starter at CB for the Vikings from 2014-2019. Overall, Rhodes played 104 games with the Vikings, including 97 starts. He recorded 372 tackles, 15 TFLs, 73 pass defenses, and is one of 37 Vikings to record at least 10 INTs. One of these 10 interceptions was a franchise-record 100-yard pick-six in 2016.

Following the 2019 season, Rhodes signed with the Indianapolis Colts where he played both the 2020 and 2021 seasons. In those two years, he started 29 games and recorded 81 tackles, 19 PDs, and 3 INTs, including another pick six in 2020.

On September 28th of the 2022 season, Rhodes signed onto the Bills practice squad after opening the season as a free agent. Then, in November, the Bills gave him a spot on the 53-man roster to help provide a constant veteran presence in the secondary.

Ultimately, the relationship never turned into anything, though, as Rhodes appeared in just two games for the Bills, recording four tackles.

Cowboys Snag Former Vikings All-Pro CB Prior to Playoff Run
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The former All-Pro and 32-year-old cornerback clearly has his best days behind him at this point. During the early years of his career, Rhodes was one of the best cornerbacks in the entire league, and he was a huge reason why the Vikings made their run to the NFC Championship Game in 2017. That was his All-Pro season, and he was fourth in Defensive Player of the Year voting as he started all 16 games and recorded 56 tackles, a TFL, 10 pass defenses, and 2 INTs.

In all, Rhodes has played 135 games, starting 127 of them, and recorded 457 tackles, 16 TFLs, 92 pass defenses, 11 INTs, 3 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. His 92 pass defenses actually rank 11th among all active players in the NFL, tied with Marcus Peters. Current Viking Patrick Peterson ranks 5th on that list with 110. Of course, Peterson has played two more years than Rhodes, getting his start in 2011.

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.

There’s now a chance that the Vikings run into their former All-Pro CB during the playoffs. The Cowboys are still fighting for an NFC East title after the Eagles lost back-to-back games without Jalen Hurts at QB. With a win this weekend and another Eagles loss, the division crown goes to Dallas.

If the Niners also win in that scenario, the Cowboys would be the No. 2 seed, and, assuming both Dallas and Minnesota win their Wild Card games, they’d be set to host the Vikings in the Divisional round. Of course, there’s a lot of football to be played between now and then, so we’ll see how things play out. Regardless, it seems Rhodes has his team for this season’s playoff run.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.