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Vikings shut down Julio Jones, continue to make life miserable on top receivers

Xavier Rhodes and the Minnesota Vikings’ defense did it again.

One week ago, Julio Jones shredded the Tampa Bay Bucs for 253 yards on 12 catches and scored two touchdowns. The NFL’s best wide receiver didn’t have anywhere near the same success on Sunday. Jones caught two passes on six targets and gained just 24 yards.

“Xavier did a great job, but all of our guys in the back end did a great job,” head coach Mike Zimmer said following the 14-9 win in Atlanta. “Trae [Waynes], the safeties, we will very rarely just say, ‘Hey, you got him.’ It was just the way we felt we had to play to win this football game. We know how great of a player he is and how talented he is. It’s important that we try to take away some of the opponents’ strengths each week.”

Earlier in the week, Jones said that he hoped Rhodes matched up against him in man-to-man coverage, but the Vikings’ shutdown corner has now gotten the best of Jones each time they’ve matched up. In 2015, Jones only faced Rhodes for part of the game and had two receptions for 27 yards.

“We played good as a whole unit,” Rhodes said. “When we needed a stop, we stopped them. It was a great team win, a statement game, it felt like.”

“We knew it was going to be a defensive game, we knew we would have to have tight coverage,” Rhodes added.

Rhodes has predominantly shadowed the opposing team’s top receiver and the results have been terrific for the Vikings defense. Here are some of the league’s most talented performed against the Vikings this year:

New Orleans, Michael Thomas – Five catches, 45 yards

Pittsburgh, Antonio Brown – Five catches, 62 yards

Tampa Bay, Mike Evans – Seven catches, 67 yards

Los Angeles, Sammy Watkins – Three catches, 36 yards

Atlanta, Julio Jones – Two catches, 24 yards

Overall the Vikings’ defense shut down the entire Falcons passing attack. Quarterback Matt Ryan finished 16-for-29 with 173 yards.

  • Bob T.

    Who wanted Marcus Peters over Trae Waynes in the 2015 draft? Not me. Rhodes and Waynes coming together quite well. Two players who are a very good “fit”

    • Al Ashby

      I did…

    • Gordon Guffey

      Waynes is having a outstanding year ~ Outstanding even and hopefully closing in on the heels Rhodes and Waynes is Alexander who is playing much better than year one ~ If he can take the slot job in 2018 while playing well doing it thats going to be a very nice top 3 at CB ~

  • scott

    This team is ballin!

    • Gordon Guffey

      To date they are one of the best and they works so well together as units ~ Then the theywe have the offense feeding off the defense and the defense feeding off the offense ~ Complete package ~ I believe our coaching staff will keep them playing that way too ~

  • SM

    I just love how the espn mother ship headline said the Vikes “escaped” Atlanta with a win. How does 9-2 team escape a 7-4 team with less than 3 point spread???? Maybe that was just cupcake Cronin, but I think it goes deeper..

    And Fox had a feature love piece with felon animal killer talking to the great offense duo. Hardly anything about the Vikes.

    National media still doesn’t give these guys any respect.

    Keep crushing, Purple Doom!

    • Greg Toney

      It seems like the media is now making us Vikings fans seem like a bunch of whiners for not getting the love that the big market teams get regardless of their records. That’s why it’s so enjoyable that the Vikings keep winning and who cares what the media thinks.SKOL!


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