Harrison Smith Jersey

The veteran cornerback’s name has come up in trade rumors this offseason. But is this a move the Minnesota Vikings should consider making?

Despite the fact that Xavier Rhodes has only been in the NFL for six years, he is actually one of the longest tenured members of the Minnesota Vikings. Everson Griffen, Kyle Rudolph, and Harrison Smith are the only players on the team’s current roster that have been with the Vikings for a larger amount of time than Rhodes.

Drafted in the first round by Minnesota in 2013 when Leslie Frazier was the team’s head coach, the 28-year-old has developed into one of the top corners in the league today. Especially during the last few years when he has had the opportunity to learn from one of the top defensive minds in the game in current Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer.

During the last three seasons, Rhodes has been voted to a pair of Pro Bowls and he was selected as a First-Team All-Pro in 2017.

Many figured he would continue to take steps forward and further develop in 2018. However, Rhodes had a bit of an odd year last season and his level of play wasn’t exactly the same as what he had put out on the field in 2016 and 2017.

With Minnesota in need of cap space this offseason and the veteran corner owed more than $10 million in 2019, his name has come up a few times in trade rumors this year.

It doesn’t sound like the Vikings have been the ones actively calling around and trying to trade Rhodes this offseason though as it has only been reported that other teams around the league are who has initiated contact with Minnesota about possibly acquiring the corner.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport recently reported that the Vikings don’t appear to be interested in any trade offers for Rhodes this year. But is this actually something Minnesota should consider?

Would the Vikings be better off keeping Rhodes on their 2019 roster or should the team attempt to trade their top corner and get some legit compensation while his value is still at a relatively high level?

A lot of experts have the Vikings taking an offensive lineman at No. 18. But with the strength of this class being on defense, specifically the defensive line, do you think the Vikings would consider taking a defensive lineman in the 1st round if a top 10 talent falls to them?

Yes, I do believe the Vikings would take a defensive lineman at No. 18 if that is what their board dictated when they were on the clock. We all know GM Rick Spielman’s philosophy by now. He is not going to bypass a higher-graded player for a lower-graded player solely because of need. With that being said, team need is factored into the process of building a draft board. So if two players at different positions have the same grade, they are prioritized based on several factors, including team need.

Draft, develop and re-sign. That has been the Vikings philosophy under Spielman and it’s worked well (Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer have notched 48 wins in five seasons together). That philosophy has allowed the Vikings to maintain a core of players that includes Anthony Barr, Stefon Diggs, Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks, Xavier Rhodes, Kyle Rudolph, Harrison Smith and Adam Thielen, among others. Because the Vikings draft and develop as well as they do, they don’t have to get into the free agent market and the trade market very often to try and splash. While this philosophy has not yet propelled the Vikings to a Super Bowl win, it does have the Vikings in position to compete annually for a division title.

Without question, this is the position group that Vikings fans are thinking about most this offseason. Yes, this is a group that will be expected to improve in 2019. But let’s also remember that it’s a group with a solid foundation. Riley Reiff has been a solid free agent signing and has position flexibility, which will help the Vikings be flexible in this year’s draft. And then Pat Elflein and Brian O’Neill have been solid draft picks the past two years. So in those three, the Vikings have a solid foundation and now they’re in the process of putting together a group of players who can compete for two vacant starting spots and as well as important depth spots, such as swing tackle and backup center.

We all know the need to upgrade the offensive line in the upcoming draft. However, I’m also looking for the Vikings to get a legitimate No. 3 receiver to mix in with Diggs and Thielen. What are your thoughts on this? Do we get one via the draft, look at the undrafted free agents or are we waiting for other teams training camp cuts in August?
— Peter Philip
Sandhurst, United Kingdom

This will be a true position battle this spring and summer at TCO Performance Center. And it’s fair to assume to competition will be robust and plentiful. Chad Beebe, Laquon Treadwell and Brandon Zylstra are three names to watch in terms of returning players. There is still time to sign a free agent or two before the offseason program begins. And then there’s the draft and undrafted free agency, as well. This position battle is wide open and it will be interesting to see how it unfolds as well as how many receivers the Vikings decide to keep heading into the regular season.