Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes was flagged for seven penalties in the first four weeks of the season, tying him with defensive end Everson Griffen for most on the team and second-most in the entire league.
Three of those penalties came in Week Four’s close loss to the Broncos and the Vikings want to see Rhodes use his hands in a less damaging way when they resume their season against the Chiefs this weekend. Boxing gloves are part of that plan.
The Vikings had Rhodes practice while wearing the gloves on Monday with defensive backs coach Jerry Gray telling Rhodes “now you can’t grab” after they were slipped on.
“I’ve heard of that technique before; putting boxing gloves on, and make a guy just cover with his feet and his eyes. I think it’s actually a good thing for him,” cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said, via ESPN.com. “We know he’s a very physical guy — it shows. With seven penalties on the year, we’re just trying to get it down, and help him get it down. We’re just trying to go out there and be teammates. We want to laugh and joke with him, let him know it’s not a thing that coach is insulting you on, or anything like that. We’re just trying to get you better.”
All three of Rhodes’s penalties against the Broncos came on drives that resulted in points that loomed large in a 23-20 loss for the Vikings. If the gloves can help eliminate such losses in the future, it will be worth any laughing and joking in practice. If they don’t, the Vikings could invite Ray Edwards back for a bout at their forthcoming stadium.