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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Xavier Rhodes has aced tough tests to open 2017

By Matthew Coller

When the Minnesota Vikings signed Xavier Rhodes to a six-year, $78 million contract with $32.5 million guaranteed, the consensus across the league was that each side got a fair deal. After three weeks, it appears the Vikings got a bargain.

Rhodes’ 2016 season was magnificent. He picked off five passes and NFL.com writer Matt Harmon pointed out that opposing quarterbacks targeted Rhodes 79 times in 14 games and came out with a 39.2 rating and NFL-low 41.8 percent catch rate.

The 2017 slate of wide receivers appeared much more daunting than in Rhodes’ breakout season. While he shut down Odell Beckham Jr, the Vikings didn’t face many other true No. 1 receivers last year. To open this season, Rhodes has matched up with Michael Thomas, Antonio Brown and Mike Evans, all of whom rated in the top five by Pro Football Focus rankings.

The official NFL Twitter account sent out the results on Tuesday.

Attention all opposing WRs:

RHODES CLOSED pic.twitter.com/99uH039rD5

— NFL (@NFL) September 27, 2017

Rhodes won’t get much of a break this week when the Vikings match up against the Detroit Lions. In three games, Golden Tate has 21 receptions on 27 targets. The next best Detroit receiver has only seven catches. However, since Tate is used often in the screen game, we might not see Rhodes shadow the former Notre Dame star.

There will be plenty more challenges along the way. Jordy Nelson, Sammy Watkins, Julio Jones and AJ Green are on the Vikings’ remaining slate.

The post Xavier Rhodes has aced tough tests to open 2017 appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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