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Rhodes ranks top players in NFC North ... including himself

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes (29) intercepts a pass intended for San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis (18) on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — No teammates have complained to Xavier Rhodes about his player rankings. At least, not yet.

The Vikings' all-pro cornerback published a first-person story in The Players' Tribune on Tuesday, Sept. 11, in which he ranked the top seven players in the NFC North.

He ranked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers No. 1 and included three Vikings players in his list: safety Harrison Smith at No. 3, Rhodes at No. 4 and defensive end Everson Griffen at No. 6.

Any complaints so far?

"Nobody came to me, not just yet," Rhodes said after practice Wednesday. "Probably (Thursday), if they read it."

Griffen said Wednesday he read it, and shrugged it off.

"The rankings are the rankings," Griffen said. "I'm just here for one thing, to win games and beat the guy in front of me. And you know, sixth is sixth. Aaron's first. It is what it is. ... My mind-set right now is on winning games, not on where I'm ranked."

Rhodes said he was approached by The Players' Tribune (theplayerstribune.com) to rank top players. Although the story has Rhodes' byline on it, he said he was interviewed for it and someone else wrote it up.

Other NFC North players ranked were Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford at No. 2, Chicago running back Jordan Howard at No. 5 and Lions wide receiver Golden Tate at No. 7.

So, wait, two quarterbacks made the list, and one isn't Kirk Cousins?

Rhodes says he didn't include the Vikings' first-year QB in the article because he hasn't "played in the division yet," and "once Kirk gives the rest of the division a taste of what he's working with, I'll rank him appropriately."

"I think that's fair," Cousins said. "I have a lot of games ahead of me, hopefully. I'll be able to put a sample size out there and then we can continue the conversation. But honestly, whether I'm in the top seven or top 70 or top 700, I'd rather just win football games."

Also not ranked is recently acquired Bears linebacker Khalil Mack, who was dominant in an NFC North game at Green Bay last Sunday.

Rhodes said Wednesday he needs to see more.

"It's only one game," Rhodes said. "He didn't even have a full year. They have to play, like, every team in the division."

In the article, Rhodes provided a comment about each ranked player. He called Rodgers, who will face the Vikings on Sunday at Lambeau Field if cleared to play after suffering a sprained knee, "so confident in his game that it actually bothers you."

Rhodes called Smith "one of the best safeties in the game," and said "he's everywhere on the field." He said Griffen's "motor never stops" and he "has no chill."

As for himself, Rhodes said in the article, "I've been playing some good football."

He was asked Wednesday about ranking himself so highly.

"I was being honest," he said. "I had to put myself somewhere."

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