Wednesday, August 31, 2016

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Xavier Rhodes shutdown corner
Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

When the 2014 season came to a close, Xavier Rhodes looked poised for stardom. After an up-and-down rookie campaign—par for the course for NFL defensive backs, even first round picks—Rhodes took a dramatic leap in year two, improving his coverage skills significantly and becoming known as a pass break-up machine. Pro Football Focus rated him as the NFL’s 14th-best corner that year—not Revis status, but a nice ascension for a second-year player. Fueling the narrative of a player on the rise, Rhodes had a downright dominant four-game stretch late in the season in which he allowed only seven catches and a 22.2 passer rating for opposing quarterbacks.

Rhodes blossomed under the tutelage of head coach Mike Zimmer in 2014, Zimmer’s first year at the helm for the Vikings. Zimmer is, of course, known for his defensive pedigree, and it seemed like he was quickly molding Rhodes into a complete, number one corner. The thought after Rhodes’ sophomore season was that, based on his enormous progress in year two, 2015 would be the year he developed into a legitimate shutdown corner, able to shadow the opposing team’s top receiver on a weekly basis.

That hasn’t exactly happened.

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Image Courtesy of Vikings.com

As listeners of Purple FTW! know, Andy is pretty lazy. Therefore I’ve passed the buck along and we have a new producer in the fold by the name of Daniel Paluch (@DanielPaluch). During the show we talk about what the hell a podcast producer does (I still have no idea), suss out how he did prepping for his first show, fill you guys in about the first time I met Daniel in Mankato (#BackSweat) and even talk a little Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings.

All that and other “Get My Coffee” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

Daniel is a Vikings writer at Pro Football Spot. Hit up his stuff!

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Tyler Boyd was a consistent three-year starter for the Pittsburgh Panthers while working with three different quarterbacks since his true freshman season in 2013. Boyd set a new ACC freshman record with 85 catches for 1,174 yards, breaking Larry Fitzgerald’s record. Since then he has accounted for a career total of 3,361 yards receiving, 520 yards rushing and over 1,360 return yards on kickoffs and punt returns. Boyd is not the biggest or fastest in this class of pass catcher but he does a lot of the little things extremely well.

Tyler Boyd | Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh

Measurements

Height: 6’2
Weight: 200 lbs
Age: 21

At First Glance

First Team All-ACC and numerous ACC Receiver of the Week and Specialist of the Week honors. Football Writers All-American.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In what could just be one of many rumors to come out of Winter Park before the start of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Vikings are apparently interested in drafting former Alabama running back Derrick Henry. The info comes from Eric Galko of OptimumScouting.com and he says Minnesota potentially feels that Henry could be their guy if he ends up still being available when the Vikings are on the clock with the 23rd overall pick.

The 6’3″, 242 pound Henry rushed for a total of 2,219 yards and scored 28 touchdowns for Alabama in 2015. These totals eventually lead to Henry being awarded with this season’s Heisman Trophy.

He has been projected by draft scouts to be selected as a late first or early second round pick. However, Henry was not included in the latest first round mock drafts compiled by USA Today, Draft Season, Draft Tek, or Bleacher Report.

While the selection of Henry by Minnesota would not be a horrible choice, it would come with a bit of surprise. Given that the Vikings are also the same team that the 2015 NFL rushing champion calls home.

If Henry were to be drafted by Minnesota, Adrian Peterson’s days as the Vikings’s running back could be coming to an end sooner than later. However, it could create a unique opportunity for Henry to come in as a rookie and learn from Peterson if both running backs end up becoming teammates next season.

With Peterson and Jerick McKinnon currently under contract for next season, Minnesota is not in dire need to draft a running back with one of their early round selections. It may be a better option for the Vikings to wait another year and use one of their draft picks in 2017 to find a replacement for Peterson.

Will Minnesota and general manager Rick Spielman make the splashy move and snag Henry if he is still on the board when it is their turn to draft? Now remember, this is the same guy who traded back into the first round in 2013 to select Cordarrelle Patterson so anything is possible.

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Luke Inman (@Luke_Spinman) is back in Minnesota after his Senior Bowl adventure. We recap who made some cheddar over the weekend and who still has work to do. Also we jump into what’s next in the draft process. Pro Days, the Combine, and grinding all. Of. The. Tape.

All that and other “Late Riser” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

Hit up all of Luke’s stuff at eDraft and Cold Omaha.

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