For years now, the cornerback position has been an area of concern for the Vikings. With the departure of veteran Antoine Winfield, the position was left without a top-tier coverage man to line up across from Chris Cook.
That’s where Rhodes comes in, a promising young prospect who should make an immediate impact as part of the Minnesota secondary.
While he wasn’t afforded the label of the class’ top cornerback, Rhodes has the potential to turn into the best long-term prospect to hear his named called in 2013. With an outstanding mix of coverage skills and the physicality that’s hard to find these days, Rhodes is everything that the Vikings lost when Winfield signed with the Seattle Seahawks. He’s a perfect fit for the Tampa 2 defense and should help Minnesota create turnovers with his ballhawking abilities.
On top of his physical skills, Rhodes has the mentally and confidence to be an elite cornerback at the next level. Since GM Rick Spielman took over as the Vikings draft-day shot caller, he has emphasized taking high-character players who will help unite the Minnesota locker room. Rhodes fits the bill.
Although Rhodes will likely fill in from Day 1 as the starter opposite the oft-injured Cook, the rookie will certainly get a strong push from second-year cornerback Josh Robinson. The 2012 third-round pick played well in his first season, but will almost definite end up being forced into a nickel role with Rhodes now in the picture.
The Vikings are bent on upgrading their defense from almost every aspect. They landed defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd at No. 23, and gave their secondary a big boost at No. 25 with Rhodes.
For more information on Xavier Rhodes check out his 2013 NFL Draft Profile here!