Ahhhh, the off-season. A time of mock drafts, a new football league, bold predictions, and hot takes. We’ve started our mock drafts, and we spent this last weekend discussing the AAF, and I think there’s a lot to like there. We’ll get to a hot take from a noted NFL personality in a little bit (and it’s spicy hot), so for now, let’s knock out a bold prediction, shall we?
Over at the Worldwide Leader, they asked all 32 NFL beat writers to come up with a bold prediction for the team they cover. Courtney Cronin, who I think is one of the best in the business, offered up her bold prediction for the Vikings, trading Xavier Rhodes. A portion of her explanation below:
Mike Zimmer would likely fight tooth and nail against losing one of his star defensive players. But Minnesota’s best chance at bolstering its weakest link -- the offensive line -- might come from cutting into an area where the Vikings are OK depthwise and have valuable trade leverage.
Let’s take a look at this, because the ‘let’s trade a CB’ talk is pretty frequent in Vikings Land, whether it’s Rhodes or Waynes. On one hand, this kind of makes sense. Rhodes is coming off a down year, battled some injuries more than in recent seasons, and has a hefty cap number ($13.4 mil) for 2019. If you believe that Holton Hill and Mac Alexander will continue to develop, Mike Hughes will bounce back from his torn ACL, and Trae Waynes will sign a contract extension, the Vikings probably do have more depth here than anywhere else on the roster.
If you’re comfortable with those variables falling in Minnesota’s favor, Rhodes is the most likely player to fetch the most in a trade, be it players, draft picks, or both. The Vikings do need offensive line help, and if Rhodes could fetch a comparable player in return for the o-line, or a pick high enough in the draft to ensure Minnesota could take a top o-line prospect, it’s intriguing to think about.
Still, this still feels like a ‘cut off your nose to spite your face’ move if it were to go down. Personally, I don’t think all those variables mentioned above will fall in favor of the Vikings; they rarely do. I have heard nothing on a contract extension for Waynes, it could take awhile for Hughes to get back into game shape and trust his knee completely, and as promising as Alexander and Hill have been, they’re still a roll of the dice as full time starters.
At the beginning of last year EVERYONE thought the Vikings were fat at CB, and they were. Then Mike Hughes tore his ACL fairly early in the season, Rhodes started getting some more serious dings and bumps and missed a fair amount of time, and lo and behold by the end of the season Bob’s Your Uncle and Marcus Sherels is seeing some decent playing time as the dime back. As much as I love Marcus Sherels the return guy, I’m not a fan of Marcus Sherels the defensive back.
Finally, I don’t understand the mentality in wanting to trade either Rhodes of Waynes. For Rhodes, it’s generally ‘well he had a bad year so let’s trade him.’ For Waynes, it’s ‘well he finally had a good year so let’s see what we can get.’ Rhodes is still the best CB on the team, he just had a bad year. It happens. Wanting to move him after one down season seems very short sighted to me.
For Waynes, I find the trade talk even more ironic, if we’re being honest. For three years, all most people talked about when they mentioned Waynes was that he was a bust and that he sucked. When he finally starts playing to the level people complained he hadn’t played at before (which I think was BS but that’s another post entirely), now those exact same folks want to trade him.
I don’t get it, but that’s just me.
Should the VIkings trade Xavier Rhodes?
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