Xavier Rhodes followed up a solid rookie season in 2013 with an even better sophomore campaign in 2014. He's also under the tutelage of head coach Mike Zimmer, one of the most well-respected defensive minds in the NFL. All of that has led to plenty of positive pub for Rhodes as he enters his third season.
Here is some more.
CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco went through an interesting exercise where he put together his "ideal" 53-man roster, using a strict set of rules to guide him through the process. Rhodes made Prisco's team. Said Prisco:
"Rhodes is a rising star who might be in the conversation as one of the top five corners in the league at this time next year."
Rhodes still being on his rookie deal and thus earning a modest salary given the position he plays and how well he plays it was plenty of reason for Prisco to tap on Rhodes. But it should also be noted that Prisco limited himself to just one player from each round of the last three drafts, meaning of all the players taken in the first round of the 2013 draft (DE Ziggy Ansah, G Kyle Long, S Eric Reid, DT Sheldon Richardson, Rhodes was Prisco's pick.
Wallace among players helped by scheme change in 2015
With just a day and change remaining in his first offseason program with the Vikings, Mike Wallace has made a profoundly positive impression on his coaches and teammates at Winter Park. Everyone from Zimmer to QB Teddy Bridgewater to Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner has been bullish on Wallace's attitude around the building, production in practice and work ethic off the field.
There are outsiders who are positive on Wallace's addition to the Vikings, too. Count ESPN's Field Yates as one of them.
Yates, in a piece for ESPN Insider, lists Wallace first among players who will be helped by scheme changes in 2015. Wallace goes from Miami's offense, which featured Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, to the Vikings offense, which features Bridgewater.
Vikings quarterbackTeddy Bridgewater has room to grow as a thrower but was markedly better than Tannehill down the field last season, ranking 14th in completion percentage at 37.8 and 15th and 15th in total QBR at 92.4.
In fairness to Tannehill and the Dolphins scheme, Wallace did haul in 10 touchdowns in 2014 and two of them were against the Vikings, so it's not as if things were poor in Miami. But given Turner's willingness to attack defenses deep down the field plus the positive projection of Bridgewater in 2015, it's easy to see Yates' point.
Vikings strong safety job is up for grabs
The Vikings are set to wrap up their offseason program this week when their annual three-day minicamp concludes on Thursday. But the competition is far from over. One of the spots seeing the best competition is the starting safety job next to Harrison Smith.
There was a development in that spot on Tuesday, with the Vikings releasing Taylor Mays, who had signed as a free agent earlier in the offseason. According to the Star Tribune's Master Tesfatsion, Mays' release leaves three likely candidates for that starting spot – incumbent Robert Blanton, second-year player Anton Exum, Jr. and special teams ace Andrew Sendejo.
"It's too early to give Blanton the nod at the position," wrote Tesfatsion. "Zimmer made it clear the starter will be determined during the preseason once he gets a better look at each player in pads.
'The things that happen when they're not playing the team they see every single day, those are much better evaluations because the checks happen faster, the different types of plays happen faster," Zimmer said. "I would not read too much into who's where right at this particular point, unless it's Teddy [Bridgewater] or Adrian [Peterson] probably.'"
Here's another "ideal 53-man roster" from former agent Joel Corry – a different Vikings defender makes it this time.
Teddy says his time for rest is over.
You can't buy Charles Johnson jerseys yet, but CJ himself has a way around it.