Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes apologized Wednesday for his sideline tantrum during Monday night’s 37-30 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
FILE PHOTO: Dec 16, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes (29) celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Rhodes was beaten on a 60-yard touchdown catch by Seattle’s David Moore and got into a heated argument with coach Mike Zimmer upon returning to the sideline. Following the discussion, he slammed his helmet to the turf on two occasions.
“That’s not the way I should carry myself, especially as a leader on this team,” Rhodes told reporters on Wednesday. “I apologize definitely to Coach Zim, and the things he’s taught me — I should never react that way towards him or towards my team, period. I know my role, I need to play it better. I need to play better out on that field, eliminate the penalties and just do well.
“There’s a lot more football going on right now. We still have a great chance of making it to the playoffs and still have a chance to win our division. Right now I’m looking forward to doing that, helping my team day-to-day, minimize the penalties I have that’s going on each and every week and bettering myself.”
By all accounts, including his own, the 29-year-old Rhodes is experiencing a tough season.
He doesn’t have an interception and has been called for pass interference four times and eight penalties overall, the latter tying for the most among cornerbacks. Two other penalties against him for defensive holding were declined, one due to offsetting penalties.
The 139 penalty yards he has been flagged for lead all NFL defensive backs.
“I’m just at a place right now where I feel like I can do better and I can help my team out much more,” Rhodes said. “We can be in better situations and make the game a lot easier on my team rather than me hurting us in the middle of the game. One play particularly, it was my fault on the play, the touchdown, and that’s how I’m going to leave it, not get into any details about that.
“It was 100 percent my fault, no one else. I was supposed to be at a certain spot at a certain time, and I wasn’t there. Like I said, I’m a leader on this team, I’ve been a leader for a while, and I need to do better and play my role a lot better than I’ve been playing lately.”
Zimmer, who has supported Rhodes through the tough season, termed the Moore play as a busted coverage.
Zimmer said that Rhodes has been working on improving his technique.
“I saw improvement in quite a few areas,” Zimmer said of Rhodes. “He had the one, we busted a coverage on the one, but the one curl that they caught we were in zone coverage, and actually he did a nice job on that. But he got beat on a stop-nine (route) one time, I think, and other than that I saw some improvement technically.”
Rhodes, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has 10 career interceptions in 101 games (94 starts) in seven seasons with Minnesota. Five of the picks came in 2016, and he earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2017.
—Field Level Media
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