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Xavier Rhodes, Vikings Key on Falcons WR Julio Jones



The Vikings expect heavy involvement from Falcons receiver Julio Jones in Sunday's game.

Tim Yotter of *Viking Update *wondered if Minnesota will counter with a heavy dose of Xavier Rhodes or use a combination of players and coverages against the player who has posted 89 catches for 1,189 yards and six touchdowns with six games left. Yotter wrote that Rhodes has a high level of respect for Jones.

*Rhodes was clear in his distinction of Jones versus the Falcons' other receivers. *

"They have a great receiver in Julio and they have good receivers. As you see, they try to get Julio the ball. He averages a lot of targets a game," Rhodes said. "That's their main guy who they try to go to, but let's not forget about the other receivers."

*Rhodes is right about Jones being the main target. He is only one behind NFL leader DeAndre Hopkins with 134 targets, and nobody else has more than 114 targets. *


*Rhodes said he likely wouldn't find out if he is shadowing Jones until a day or two before the game because Vikings coaches want defensive backs studying the opponent's offensive concepts and all the receivers rather than concentrating on a specific receiver.

Rhodes and the Vikings limited Jones to six catches for 82 yards last season.

Pride in blocking

Kyle Rudolph bounced back on the stat sheet from a drop of an easy TD catch in Oakland by posting six catches for a career high 106 yards and a career-long 47-yard TD against the Packers.

It's worth noting, however, that Rudolph didn't let the early error affect his game against the Raiders, when he helped the Vikings rush for a season-high 263 yards.

Jason Gonzalez of the Star Tribune noted the importance that Rudolph is placing on his role in run blocking and helping with pass protection this season.

"I almost take more pride in [blocking] because everyone says I can't do it," Rudolph told Gonzalez. "Everyone knows I can run around and catch balls, but everyone tells me how bad I am at blocking and how bad my pass protection is, so when I go out there and play a big part in 260 yards rushing, I take pride in that. … Just wearing [the defenders] down and seeing that throughout the course of the game when you keep pounding on a team and then [Peterson] breaks an 80-yarder in the fourth quarter and it was directly behind all three of the tight ends. … Not a lot of guys are doing that anymore."

Quick Hitters's Ben Goessling with a "Black Friday" shopping list for the Vikings.

FOX Sports North with "Six Points" about Sunday's Vikings-Falcons game.

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