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Xavier Rhodes Making 'Great Progress' with Knee Injury

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes said Thursday that he's "made great progress" in recent days with his injured knee.

Rhodes, who felt something in his knee pop while stretching before the season opener at Tennessee, hasn't played yet this season but is hopeful for Sunday's game against the Panthers.

"Just taking it day-by-day," Rhodes said. "I don't know what the plan is going to be come Sunday.

"We're just seeing how I feel each and every day," he added. "Right now, these past couple of days, it's been feeling good."

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Rhodes has looked "pretty good" in recent days and thinks "he might be able to play" against Carolina.

Rhodes has been a limited participant in practice the past two days and said he's easing himself back into football mode.

"You don't want to go full-throttle right now," Rhodes said. "I feel good, and there will probably be more reps (Friday)."

Rhodes said he's not frustrated with his situation, adding that he won't think about his knee once he hits the field for game action.

"I'm just keeping my composure," Rhodes said. "Once I go out there, I just need to play ball and not think about the games I didn't play or how many games I missed.

"The biggest thing is just going out there and playing football and not thinking about it," he added.

Tough tasks for Vikings cornerbacks

If Rhodes is able to play Sunday against the Panthers, he could be helpful for the Vikings against his former Florida State teammate, Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin.

Benjamin, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, missed the 2015 season with an ACL injury. He has been one of Carolina quarterback Cam Newton's favorite targets through two games this season and has 13 catches for 199 yards and three touchdowns.

Rhodes said cornerbacks need to bring their 'A' game when going up against big-bodied receivers such as Benjamin.

"He's going to throw you around and be physical with you, and you can't allow him to do that," Rhodes said. "You've got to have great technique, cut him off of some routes and get to the point where he can't put his hands on you.

"Just stay on top of him. Once he puts his hands on you, you've got to be physical right along with him," he added.

In addition to Benjamin, the Panthers also have 6-foot-4, 225-pound wide receiver Devin Funchess on the other side of the field.

Zimmer said Benjamin and Funchess will undoubtedly present a challenge for his team. But it's a task Minnesota's secondary will be up for.

"They have an advantage on jump balls and things like that," Zimmer said of receivers that are the sizes of the Panthers' duo. "You've got to fight them, disrupt them, get them off their routes.

"You've got to be able to go up there and get their hands apart," he added.

Floyd undergoes surgery

Zimmer announced Thursday that defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd underwent a surgical procedure on his right knee earlier in the day.

Floyd, a first-round pick in 2013, played 25 snaps in the season opener against the Titans but missed last Sunday's game against Green Bay.

Zimmer said he's confident in the depth of the defensive line, a unit that had five different players record a sack of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Sunday's 17-14 win at U.S. Bank Stadium.

"We feel good about the guys we got," Zimmer said.

Thursday's injury report

For the Vikings: Adrian Peterson (knee) and Floyd (knee) underwent separate surgical proceedures on their right knees and did not participate. Xavier Rhodes (knee) and MyCole Pruitt (knee) were limited. Kyle Rudolph (groin), Danielle Hunter (knee), Eric Kendricks (ankle), Zach Line (neck) and Jerick McKinnon (toe) fully participated.

For the Panthers: Jeremy Cash (hamstring) and Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) did not participate. Kawann Short (defensive tackle) was limited. Trai Turner (ankle) fully participated.

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