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Rhodes' Versatility Helps Him Against Top Receivers

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — One shadow was noticeable multiple times during the second straight night game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Where Giants receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. went, Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes often followed.

It's an implementation of Rhodes that Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer utilized in former matchups with Detroit's Calvin Johnson. Rhodes' prior success against Megatron from multiple points on the field led to the decision to have Rhodes shadow Beckham for several plays Monday.

"We have evidence that he can play both sides," Zimmer said Tuesday. "That's always a good thing. You see guys do it in practice, but you never really know.

"I don't know why, but corners tend to get comfortable playing one side or another with the way they break and do things," he added.

Rhodes was a significant factor in limiting Beckham to three catches and a career-low 23 yards while being targeted nine times.

Zimmer said while Rhodes did a solid job of going up against Beckham, fellow cornerbacks Terence Newman and Trae Waynes also had a hand in containing him, too.

"He wasn't covering him 1-on-1 all night, it wasn't like that," Zimmer said of Rhodes. "He came out of the game some, Newman went over there. Hopefully we mixed up the coverages that we played a little bit."

Newman played 56 snaps. Rhodes was on the field for 45 snaps, and Waynes played 31 snaps. Zimmer said "each week will be different" in terms of rotating the cornerbacks.

"I thought Trae played well last night," he added. "I've thought he's played well in the four games he's had an opportunity to play."

Zimmer also praised nickel cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, who played 64 of 66 defensive snaps.

"It's been kind of like that," Zimmer said of bringing in an extra defensive back for a linebacker. "Carolina, (we were) in a lot of nickel. Green Bay, (we were) in a lot of nickel.

"It's kind of the pro game now, there's a whole bunch of nickel stuff," he added. "I thought Captain did a nice job in the slot last night. The outside guys all did a good job. The two safeties played well."

Strong coverage from Minnesota's secondary helped limit Giants quarterback Eli Manning to a passer rating of 63.3.

Praise for the offensive line

Zimmer said Tuesday he was once again impressed by Jeremiah Sirles, who stepped in at right tackle for an injured Andre Smith.

"He played well again," Zimmer said. "Just another spot where, again, he's going to battle all night long. 

"He had some bad plays like everybody, but he's a battler," he added. "It's important to him. He's done a nice job."

Sirles filled in for left guard Alex Boone last week in Carolina. Boone left that game with a hip injury but had a noteworthy performance against New York.

"Fundamentally, he was very good," Zimmer said of Boone. "He had the one holding penalty which I guess was holding. 

"But he got on the guys. He was good in pass protection, physical in the run game," he added. "It was his best game he's played since he's been here."

Zimmer didn't have an update on Smith's inured elbow.

No pep talk needed

Vikings kicker Blair Walsh has made 8 of 11 field goal tries and has converted on 6 of 8 point after touchdown attempts so far this season.

Walsh made all three extra point tries Monday night but halved his pair of field goal attempts, hitting from 44 yards but missing from 46 yards.

Zimmer said the team isn't going to bring in competition and that he isn't about to single out Walsh for a motivational speech.

"I don't talk to (Vikings linebacker) Eric Kendricks when he makes a bad play," Zimmer said. "We correct it and move on. That's what we do here."

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