Xavier Rhodes’ NFL peers have learned to fear and respect the Vikings cornerback.
Rhodes debuted this week in the NFL Top 100, voted on by the players, ranked No. 66. Teammates Harrison Smith and Everson Griffen, and former Vikings star Adrian Peterson, were also honored in the first few weeks of the Top 100 countdown on NFL Network.
“That size is really, really tough to go against and [Rhodes] uses it well,” Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams told NFL Network. “The more he just takes advantage of that [size], he’ll be one of the best corners in the league.”
Rhodes matched up against opponents' top receiver throughout the 2016 season and totaled a career-high 11 interceptions, one returned 100 yards for a touchdown. He also forced one fumble, had 11 passes defended and 52 tackles.
Rhodes was selected to his first Pro Bowl, becoming the first Vikings cornerback selected to play in the all-star game since Antoine Winfield.
“Only the beginning,” Rhodes posted on Instagram with a photo of his NFL Top 100 ranking.
Vikings safety Harrison Smith praised Rhodes' ability to use his size and strength.
“He gets his hands on you, long arms. And once he gets his hands on you, it’s pretty much over,” Smith told NFL Network.
Captain Munnerlyn, the former Vikings defensive back, said Rhodes was consistent in 2016 and proved worthy of defending the opposing team’s top receiver.
“He’s been going out there balling,” Munnerlyn said. “I always tell them 'the Rhodes are closed.' … And they’ve definitely been closed this year.”
Smith, the Vikings star safety, ranked No. 74 in the Top 100, down one spot from his 2016 No. 73 ranking.
Adams, the Packers wide receiver, praised Smith for his smarts and instincts. Munnerlyn said Smith is one of the best players the veteran has ever been around.
Griffen also debuted in the Top 100 this year. After back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons, the Vikings defensive end ranked No. 92.
Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels described Griffen like an “explosion.”
Former Vikings superstar Adrian Peterson made the cut at No. 98 despite totaling a career-low 72 yards with no touchdowns on just 27 carries. Peterson missed 13 games after suffering a torn meniscus in the 2016 home opener.
However, Peterson’s peers consider him the “comeback kid” with “always something to prove,” enough to keep him in the Top 100. He ranked No. 5 in 2016 and has the most Top 10 finishes of any player other than Tom Brady.
The countdown to No. 1 continues Mondays on NFL Network at 7 p.m.
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