Vikings release former All-Pro CB Xavier Rhodes, DT Linval Joseph

Xavier Rhodes will be a free agent. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings announced on Friday that they have released a pair of stalwarts of their defense in cornerback Xavier Rhodes and defensive tackle Linval Joseph.

The team noted in a statement that it could still re-sign one or both of them and “will remain in communication as all parties navigate free agency moving forward,” according to general manager Rick Spielman.

The news arrives ahead of the new NFL year and free agency period scheduled to begin on March 18.

Rhodes, 29, is a three-time Pro Bowler and was named All-Pro in 2017. The seven-year NFL veteran has played his entire career with the Vikings since they selected him in the first round of the 2013 draft out of Florida State.

Joseph, 31, has played six seasons with the Vikings after playing his first four with the New York Giants. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2017, both times with the Vikings.

Rhodes struggled last season

Rhodes struggled in coverage last season and failed to record an interception for the first time since his rookie season. He apologized in December for an on-field outburst after he gave up a 60-yard touchdown to Seattle Seahawks receiver David Moore in a 37-30 loss.

Rhodes was approaching the third year of a five-year, $70.1 million contract extension and due to make $9.9 million in salary in 2020, money that was not guaranteed.

Joseph was approaching the third year of a five-year, $50 million extension and due $11.15 million in non-guaranteed salary. He recorded 44 tackles, three sacks and six quarterback hits in 13 starts last season.

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