Bills Waive Former Vikings Star

Bills Waive Former Vikings Star
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The Buffalo Bills are one of the top contenders for the Super Bowl in February.

While most thoughts in the building and the sports world, in general, are with safety Damar Hamlin after his cardiac arrest on Monday, the front office made a move on Wednesday and released former Vikings star cornerback Xavier Rhodes. The move was made to sign safety Jared Mayden off the Jets practice squad.

Rhodes was a first-round pick in 2013, one of former GM Rick Spielman’s best moves in his long tenure with the Vikings. Rhodes appeared in 104 regular season games and five postseason matchups for the Vikings. After seven seasons with the team, the Vikings released their top cornerback in the 2020 offseason to save cap space.

bills waive former
Indianapolis Colts cornerback Xavier Rhodes (27) works to bring down Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, during a game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Rhodes subsequently became an unrestricted free agent and signed a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts, where he re-signed his contract after his first season. In the two campaigns, Rhodes played in 29 games for the Colts, but his level of play was inconsistent. At times, he looked like a great cornerback in the cornerback-friendly scheme. In some other games, Rhodes was a liability.

Bills Waive Former Vikings Star

The team moved on from him, and he became, once again, a free agent. Rhodes didn’t find a new team until the season had already started. On September 28, the Buffalo Bills signed Rhodes to their practice squad. Of course, that is a great opportunity for him to win a Super Bowl and the Bills added another veteran backup to the team. In November, Rhodes was promoted to the active roster. He played in two games, including one start.

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The prime of the former star cornerback is long gone. He was one of the elite defenders in the league for a few years. In 2017, Rhodes was named first-team All-Pro, and he made three Pro Bowls in 2016, 2017, and 2019. He recorded his career-high seven interceptions in 2017. His peers recognized his elite play when he made the NFL top-100 list in advance of each of the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He regularly shut down the elite receivers of opponents.

The Vikings may have regretted the move to release him in the years without Rhodes. In 2020, especially, the team went into the season with starting cornerbacks Mike Hughes, Jeff Gladney, and Cameron Dantzler.

Cordrea Tankersley, Harrison Hand, Holton Hill, Chris Jones, and Kris Boyd started games at cornerback for the 2020 Vikings. Despite his decline in play, Rhodes would’ve been a much better option and might have been the missing piece to make the postseason. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent once he clears waivers, and a playoff team could pick him up for veteran help in the defensive backfield.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt