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Lunch Break, 12/3: Tough Love for Rhodes

Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes has made strides in reaching his full potential this season. For that you can credit the coaching staff. Rhodes attributes his rise to the nonstop tutoring he's received from the first year Vikings coaches.

Derek Wetmore from 1500 ESPN highlights Rhodes' improvement:

Earlier this season when rookie linebacker Anthony Barr was playing at a very high level, head coach Mike Zimmer revealed a little about what he's like as a coach. He would offer fair assessments of the rookie's play, but he wasn't always easily impressed. He would often say things like, 'he's playing well' or 'he has a chance to be a good player' before pointing out a mistake or two from the previous game or practice.

Enter Xavier Rhodes. The second-year cornerback out of Florida State has come on strong lately for the Vikings. So much so, in fact, that he's looking like a building block for the future of the Vikings' defense.

He has said this season that the coaching staff exhibits mostly tough love. If you make a good play, good, that's the expectation. But make a bad play or perform with improper technique and you'll hear about it.

That hasn't changed with Rhodes' strong stretch of games, but Rhodes said he doesn't need to be coddled.

"I know I played good. So they just tell me what I need to work on, but they also tell me the good things I need to work on," Rhodes said Monday. "I always had those type of coaches in my life. ... I love that. That lets me know that they care and they want nothing but better, they want me to be better."

Rhodes, who is in his second season from Florida State, has 14 passes defensed this season tying him with the likes of Darrelle Revis and Joe Haden. Rhodes should receive serious consideration for his first Pro Bowl selection of his career.

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