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Updated: April 25th, 2013 9:54pm
Vikings' pick at No. 25: Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes

Vikings' pick at No. 25: Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes

by Tom Pelissero
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings filled another need on defense with their second first-round pick on Thursday night, but not at middle linebacker.

They used the 25th overall pick to select Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who joins a secondary in desperate need of talent and depth after the release of veteran Antoine Winfield.

At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Rhodes fits the bigger mold Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said has been an emphasis at cornerback in their Tampa-2 derivative zone scheme.

"I think he has the instincts to play zone," Spielman said. "But he plays a lot of press and he's a shutdown, press corner. He's as big a corner as you can get and he can run and he has ball skills and he can run support. He fits all the things that we're looking for in a corner for this scheme."

The Vikings already had taken Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd at No. 23. Indianapolis took Florida State end Bjoern Werner at No. 24, and then the Vikings took Rhodes, 22, who earned first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors as a redshirt junior last season.

"It's a dream come true, to play for an NFL team and to be able to play with great players," said Rhodes, who was surprised by the selection because he had no contact with the Vikings after the NFL scouting combine in February.

He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds at the combine, where he posted a vertical leap of 40½ inches and a 132-inch broad jump -- both among the best for cornerbacks. He started 38 of 43 games for the Seminoles and tied for the team lead last season with three interceptions.

"He's a guy who has great length," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said of Rhodes, who has 33¾-inch arms. "He has very good speed. He has some turnover ability as well, and he has competed at a high level against some very good competition in the ACC."

In Minnesota, Rhodes joins a cornerback group that features another big cornerback, Chris Cook, as one starter outside. Rhodes also will predominantly work outside, Frazier said, meaning Josh Robinson still figures as the top slot option after Winfield signed with Seattle.

How does Rhodes feel he'll fit into the Vikings' scheme?

"It's going to be good, because we played it all at Florida State," Rhodes said. "It's nothing that I'm not going to be able to play."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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