A year after being named a first-team All-Pro cornerback, Xavier Rhodes had a career-low seven pass deflections in 14 games for the Vikings this season.
Rhodes’ health appeared to be a big reason why. He began (Week 1) and ended (Week 17) the season listed questionable to play for the Vikings while dealing with foot, hamstring and groin injuries. He was deemed questionable five times and missed two games, including Sunday’s season-ending loss to the Bears.
“You can’t control injuries in this game. You just can’t. I tried this season to do the most, but it happens,” Rhodes said Monday. “I’ve just got to be better at maintaining my composure, not doing too much. Maybe I was overdoing it, overworking my body this year.”
Rhodes still played the second-most snaps (769) in the Vikings secondary despite being on the injury report more than any defensive back not on I.R.
Rhodes has built a reputation for missing a play or series in games due to nicks and bruises. Head coach Mike Zimmer downplayed Rhodes’ injuries this season, but Rhodes had a different story.
“One injury happened, I was trying to get back on the field as fast as possible and it caused another one,” Rhodes said. “So, maybe that was a lesson learned for me to not do too much when I have an injury lingering.”
Before kickoff on Sunday, Rhodes went through a roughly 20-minute pregame test on his injured groin. He ultimately decided he didn’t want to be a liability for the defense.
“It was just one of those things where I felt it was a 50-50 chance,” Rhodes said. “I’ve been fighting injuries all this year. It was one of those things where I probably wasn’t going to finish the game and I didn’t want to hurt the team. It was a situation against Detroit I was covering and I ended up getting injured and he was open”
“So you didn’t want that situation to happen where it could have been an important drive and I fall down. We were being more cautious than anything. I didn’t want to hurt my team going out there and knowing I had a problem.”