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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Rhodes hyped for Peterson but knows Brees, Thomas will be a challenge

By Matthew Coller

Every time Adrian Peterson’s name is mentioned to a Minnesota Vikings defender, the answer is basically the same: Can’t wait to tackle him.

Vikings No. 1 cornerback Xavier Rhodes had the same sentiment on Tuesday, saying that he and the future Hall of Fame running back had something of a rivalry even when they were on the same team.

“There’s definitely a lot of pride,” Rhodes said. “I have to come down with the tackle. He knows when he was here we had a couple conversations and I told him that I’m not going to back down from him. He told me, ‘We’re gonna see how that ends,’ so we’re definitely going to see how that ends Monday night.”

While Rhodes, who was ranked as one of the league’s better run-stopping cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus, talked about being pumped to finally have a showdown with his ex-teammate, he wasn’t about to disrespect Peterson’s talent.

“He’s a great player,” Rhodes said. “Everyone has their weaknesses, but at the end of the day, him running the ball, getting to the outside, breaking a few tackles, once he gets going, it’s over. So we have to stop him, don’t let him get any momentum because once he gets that, it’s hard to stop him.”

Rhodes joked with a reporter that if anyone had tips on how to slow down Peterson, they should let him know.

No doubt, the Peterson headlines will dominate the Vikings-Saints matchup on Monday night football, but Rhodes actually has a more intriguing opponent in the season opener: Receiver Michael Thomas.

The former Ohio State star posted the second highest catch total for a rookie receiver in NFL history with 92 receptions. He averaged 12.4 yards per catch, scored nine touchdowns and ranked as the league’s fifth best receiver by Pro Football Focus.

“Him and Drew have great, great communication,” Rhodes said. “It’s awesome. Drew knows that once a guy is on top, him and Michael Thomas know they’re going to throw back shoulder. Those guys’ communication is unbelievable. We have to be in tight coverage. Drew Brees is going to make tough throws and Michael Thomas is good at adjusting to the ball.”

Thomas’s role in the Saints’ passing game became even more vital after the league announced that fellow receiver Willie Snead will be suspended for the first three games of the season. The Saints traded away receiver Brandin Cooks to the New England Patriots earlier this offseason. Snead and Cooks combined for 150 catches and 12 touchdowns last season.

Regardless of who’s playing receiver, the Vikings’ defensive backs know they won’t get any breaks from Drew Brees, who cleared 5,000 yards again last season and finished with 37 touchdowns and a 101.7 QB rating.

“Drew Brees is a great quarterback, Hall of Famer,” Rhodes said. “[He] gets the ball out fast when he sees pressure, makes the right reads, [his] audibles are good, accurate in throws, puts the ball in positions where only his receivers can get it. Our DBs are going to have to be in tight coverage and make a play once the ball is in the air.”

The post Rhodes hyped for Peterson but knows Brees, Thomas will be a challenge appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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