Xavier Rhodes is enjoying the career revival he expected to have in Indianapolis.
After many impressive years in Minnesota, Rhodes signed with the Colts on a one-year deal this offseason. Rhodes joined a talented Colts defense, one that included excellent linebacker Darius Leonard, hoping to move on from last year’s disappointing finish.
So far, so good for Rhodes and the Indianapolis Colts. A new scheme and a new home has Rhodes in a position to return to the postseason and earn a significant payday next offseason.
Xavier Rhodes impressed in Minnesota
The 25th overall pick in 2013, Xavier Rhodes had 10 pass breakups and a forced fumble in 13 games (six starts) as a rookie.
Rhodes joined the starting lineup on a full-time basis in his second year and quickly become one of the NFL’s best young defensive threats.
A physical man-to-man corner, Rhodes broke up at least 10 passes every year from 2014-17. Rhodes earned Pro Bowl honors in 2016, when he picked off five passes and had a 100-yard pick-six.
A year later, Rhodes earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors for a Vikings team that reached the NFC championship game.
Although Rhodes made the Pro Bowl last year, he wasn’t long for the Vikings. Minnesota parted ways with Rhodes in the offseason.
Rhodes signed with the Colts in March
Xavier Rhodes, who turned 30 in June, had to settle for a one-year contract worth $3 million with the Indianapolis Colts this offseason.
During an interview with The Indianapolis Star in August, Rhodes said the Colts’ defensive scheme drew him to sign with them.
And, Rhodes added, he thought he’d thrive in that scheme.
“This one is more zone, eyes to the quarterback. That’s going to be the main difference for me, is being able to play looking at the quarterback, rather than looking at the man.”
Indianapolis named Rhodes a starting cornerback for its Week 1 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Xavier Rhodes is reviving his career in Indianapolis
One game is never an indication of how good or bad a player truly is — and that especially holds true when a defensive back is facing the New York Jets.
Still, Xavier Rhodes showed just why the Colts took a chance on him with an excellent Week 3 performance. Rhodes intercepted Jets quarterback Sam Darnold twice and returned one of the picks for a 44-yard touchdown.
Through three games, Rhodes also broke up three passes for a Colts defense that allowed 18 combined points in home games against the Vikings and Jets.
The new defensive scheme means fewer all-around numbers for Rhodes — he totaled just three tackles in those games — but he’s adapting to the Colts in excellent form.
Indianapolis needs Rhodes to continue playing well in the next three games, all winnable matchups at a surprising 3-0 Bears team, at Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns, and against the Bengals in Week 6.
Even going 2-1 in those three games will position the Colts well for a possible chance at the postseason. That would certainly be good news for Rhodes, especially with his old friends in Minnesota off to an 0-3 start.