Former Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes agreed to a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday, according to his agency, the Shah Sports Group.
Rhodes, who turns 30 in June, was a free agent after seven seasons in Minnesota; he was released earlier this month to clear more than $8 million in salary cap space. The 2013 first-round pick peaked in his seven seasons with the Vikings as an All-Pro three years ago before a two-year decline.
Rhodes often shadowed and shut down an opponents’ top receiver during his prime in the 2016 and 2017 seasons. But the same inconsistency that plagued Rhodes early in his NFL career returned in 2018, along with injuries.
Penalty flags also followed Rhodes throughout his Vikings tenure, which included him either tying or outright leading the team in penalties every year from 2013-2019. Rhodes, who had a career-low six pass deflections last season, said last fall he “had a target on my back” from game officials.
He exits the Vikings with 73 pass deflections and 10 interceptions in 104 regular season games. The team will start three new cornerbacks in 2020 after Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander also exited in free agency.
Rhodes’ physical style of play and ability to neutralize top receivers earned him the nickname “Rhodes Closed.”
Last season, the Vikings rarely asked Rhodes to shadow opposing receivers, keeping safeties Anthony Harris and Harrison Smith deep in coverage more often than they had in recent years to limit big plays downfield. Nevertheless, he was a late addition to the Pro Bowl, making that event for the third time.
Star Tribune photo by Carlos Gonzalez