The Vikings coaching staff asked cornerback Xavier Rhodes to wear a different type of glove — boxing gloves — in the team’s first workout after the bye week on Monday.
Captain Munnerlyn took the gloves out of a box and strapped them onto Rhodes while the defensive backs ran through warmup drills. “Now you can’t grab,” DBs coach Jerry Gray said.
Rhodes is the NFL’s co-leader for the most penalties, seven, and picked up three in the Week 4 loss, 23-20, against Denver. He was penalized twice for pass interference and his horse-collar penalty against Emmanuel Sander earned Rhodes a $17,363 fine for illegal use of hands.
“With boxing gloves you can’t grab anyone, so that’s going to help tremendously,” Rhodes said. “You don’t box in football, so it’s pretty different [wearing them]. … At the end of the day, you’re just going to see if it’s going to help.”
Rhodes has heard of this training method used around the NFL, but had never done anything like it. He was unsure how long he’d have to wear the boxing gloves and understands the message the coaching staff is relaying – the penalties need to stop.
“I don’t know what the issue is,” he said. “I’ve been called for holding every game so far.”
Rhodes tried to have a little fun with the gloves by jabbing at his teammates while doing his best impression of a boxer.
“We know he’s a very physical guy. It shows,” Munnerlyn said before pausing for a quick laugh, “with seven penalties on the year. So we’re just trying to get [the penalties] down … And just trying to be [good] teammates, laughing, joking with him, letting him know it’s not a thing that coach wants to insult you on. … We’re just trying to get you better.
“Just cover with his feet and cover with his eyes.”
Terence Newman is the only other defensive back with a penalty (one) this season. Defensive end Everson Griffin shares the NFL lead in penalties with Rhodes.