Xavier Rhodes: How Will Vikings' Newest Cornerback Fare in the Pros?

Ryan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2013

Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduces cornerback Xavier Rhodes (Florida State) as the twenty fifth overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With the 25th pick and their second pick of the first round, the Minnesota Vikings selected Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes.


Pro Outlook

Rhodes is an intriguing prospect due to his impressive height (6'2"), which gives him the ability to match up with the game's elite possession receivers. And in a division featuring Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall, that's a significant attribute for the Vikings to add.

The question with Rhodes is his athleticism. Taller corners often struggle to turn and run with smaller, quicker receivers. So will Rhodes be able to handle a variety of assignments in the pros, or will he be limited to certain matchups?


Fantasy Outlook

This doesn't impact the Vikings in terms of fantasy value, but if Rhodes develops quickly it could impact others within the NFC North. 

In 2013, Calvin Johnson had 261 yards against the Vikings, and Brandon Marshall put up 252. Minnesota may not be such a favorable opponent for those two this season.


Roster Outlook

This selection gives the Vikings incredible depth and versatility in their secondary. 

They can use the Rhodes and Chris Cook, both of whom are 6'2", on the outside, while using the smaller, quicker Josh Robinson on the slot receivers. 

The combination of Rhodes and Cook on the outside rivals the Seahawks secondary in terms of the ability to be physical with the game's elite receivers. Both corners still need to prove they can handle those tough assignments, but the potential is intriguing. 


Pick Analysis

I'm surprised the Vikings elected to pass on the linebackers who were available (Manti Te'o, Alec Ogletree, Arthur Brown) but this pick solidifies their secondary. 

The versatility the Vikings now have with Rhodes, Cook and Robinson will allow them to match up well with the three other pass-happy teams in the NFC North and help them in their quest for another trip to the playoffs. 

Grade: A-