Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes went into Saturday’s game planning to follow the orders of coach Mike Zimmer, who tasked Rhodes with shadowing Packers wideout Jordy Nelson, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Early in the game, though, veteran cornerback Terence Newman told Rhodes that he could also cover Nelson, suggesting the two defenders simply stay on their respective sides of the field.
When Rhodes was eventually confronted by Zimmer on the sideline, he explained the difficult decision he faced: Listen to his coach or Newman, a respected leader of Minnesota’s defense.
Newman’s on-the-fly game plan only lasted a few series, but Nelson had already done plenty of damage en route to a seven-catch, 145-yard, two-touchdown first half. With Rhodes shadowing the wideout over the final two quarters, Nelson caught just two passes for nine yards.
After the game, Rhodes tried to cover for Newman, telling reporters: “We felt as a team, as players, we came together and we felt like we’d never done that when we played against the Packers. Us as DBs felt like we could handle him.”
In reality, though, it was Newman who led the rogue operation until Zimmer stepped in and put an end to it. According to Rapoport, the Vikings have yet to administer any sort of discipline for Saturday’s incident.