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Bleacher Report – Vikings

With Rhodes dinged up, Vikings may need rookie Hill to step in

By Matthew Coller

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday that Xavier Rhodes and Anthony Barr have a “pretty good” chance of playing against the New Orleans Saints, but neither practiced, leaving the door open to the possibility they will face Drew Brees without the two Pro Bowlers.

Both players are extremely valuable to the Vikings’ defense, but Rhodes’ skills are especially important to slowing the Saints because of the presence of top wide receiver Michael Thomas, who has 53 receptions this year.

If Rhodes can’t play, the Vikings will turn to undrafted rookie Holton Hill.

While Minnesota originally saw Hill as a project coming into the NFL, he’s been pushed up the depth chart because of Terence Newman’s retirement and a season-ending injury to first-round draft pick Mike Hughes.

“We really liked him in the draft,” head coach Mike Zimmer said of Hill. “We thought he had length and characteristics were looking for in a corner. He’s a tough guy, tackles well, can run, has physicality, can get in and out of breaks. Corners always get hurt it seems like. You don’t go through the season with the same two corners every single ball game, typically, and so that’s why everybody laughs at me ‘we need one more corner,’but it’s kind of proving out now.”

The former Texas Longhorn has been in for 39 plays this year. He’s been targeted five times with three completions for 33 yards and one interception, which came in relief of Rhodes last week against the Jets.

Hill will have help in his corner. Newman, who worked closely with Hill camp as a teammate and is now coaching the rookie DB, faced Brees on many occasions throughout his long NFL career.

“He basically told me that I’m going to have to be on my A game because Drew Brees is going to know our defense, so I have to know it as good as Drew Brees does,” Hill said Wednesday. “So I’m just taking that and coming in every day, watching extra film, meeting up with Terence.”

While nothing in college could quite match the atmosphere of an NFL primetime game, Zimmer said that one of the things he likes about Hill is that the stage has never appeared to big for him.

“Whatever opportunity I’m given, I’m going to take full advantage, be there for my team and step up,” Hill said.

The post With Rhodes dinged up, Vikings may need rookie Hill to step in appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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