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#pounditTuesday, January 31, 2023

Report: Terence Newman convinced Xavier Rhodes to defy Mike Zimmer

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes ultimately took the fall for defying coach Mike Zimmer’s defensive gameplan on Saturday, but the mastermind was another veteran defensive back.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, it was veteran cornerback Terence Newman who told Rhodes early in the contest to stay on his side of the field and share the duty of covering Green Bay receiver Jordy Nelson with him.

When confronted by Zimmer, Rhodes said he was conflicted between performing his coach’s orders or listening to the team’s 38-year-old defensive leader. It only lasted a few series before Zimmer intervened and got everyone on the same page.

No punishment has been issued against anyone on the team since the game.

What’s strange, as Rapoport notes, is that Newman played under Zimmer in both Dallas and Cincinnati when the current Vikings coach was defensive coordinator, so it’s rather odd that he would so openly defy a coach he knows well.

Rhodes ultimately took the fall for it in the media after the game, but it sounds like he was pressured into doing what he did. Either way, this story is a pretty bad look for a Vikings team that has seen a once-promising season collapse spectacularly, with this being the final nail in the coffin.

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