Xavier Rhodes insists he doesn’t have revenge on his mind.
The veteran cornerback was released by the Vikings in March in a salary-related move after seven years with the team. He then signed with the Indianapolis Colts, who play host to the Vikings on Sunday.
“It’s all love,” Rhodes said on a conference call Tuesday about his relationship with his former team. “I was there for seven years. It was a brotherhood when I was there, and it’s still a brotherhood to this day. So, it’s going to be good going against those guys.”
Rhodes made three Pro Bowls with the Vikings, including in 2017, when he also was named first-team all-pro. But his play slipped in 2018 and 2019, and he was let go with three years left on his contract. After being on the books to make $9.9 million in 2020, he settled for a one-year, $3.25 million deal with the Colts.
“It’s a business, at the end of the day,” Rhodes said. “I’ve been in the league going on eight years, man. I’ve seen (players released) multiple times. … That’s how things go. You just have to move on and just go with your new team.”
Rhodes started in Indianapolis’ 27-20 opening-game loss at Jacksonville last Sunday — and struggled. Pro Football Focus ranked him the 85th-best cornerback in the NFL for his play in the first week of the season.
On Sunday, Rhodes hopes his familiarity with Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins will help the Colts.
“He doesn’t make too many bad decisions,” Rhodes said. “He tries to make the best decision he can to help his team win the game. So we have to force him to make those throws that he doesn’t want to make.”
Several NFL coaches, including Minnesota’s Mike Zimmer, did not properly following NFL protocols in wearing masks during Week 1. And the league has taken notice.
NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent sent a memo to all NFL general managers, head coaches and athletic trainers with a reminder that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, all those in the bench area with the exception of active players must wear a face covering and make sure “it securely fits across the wearer’s nose and mouth to prevent the transmission of the virus.”
Throughout last Sunday’s 43-34 loss to Green Bay at U.S. Bank Stadium, Zimmer’s mask rarely covered both his nose and mouth.
For the second week in a row, kicker Chase McLaughlin was the only practice-squad player protected by the Vikings. A new rule allows them to protect up to four players per week, but no player can be designated more than four times in the season.
With some teams needing a kicker, the Vikings want to hold onto McLaughlin on the practice squad as long as possible. If he is protected in each of the next two weeks, the soonest he possibly could join another team would be in Week 5.