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Vikings' Xavier Rhodes on matchup with Julio Jones: 'It's hard to get in his head'

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – One of the most intriguing matchups that will take place on Sunday is between Falcons' wide receiver Julio Jones and Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes.

Both are playing as good as anyone at their respective positions.

Jones currently ranks second in the league in receiving yards with 1,039 yards. Rhodes is Minnesota's No. 1 cornerback on a defense that ranks No. 5 in the league in scoring defense. One of Rhodes' main responsibilities is often shadowing opponents' top receiver.

This won't be the first time these two have squared off against one another – it's actually the third meeting between the Jones and Rhodes. In 2014, Jones was held to eight catches for 82 yards. In 2015, Jones caught five passes for 56 yards.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn is expecting to see a lot of different things in this particular matchup.

"Julio is a player that generally teams have a plan and a place to say, 'How are we going to go about it?' That'll be the same this week, and that's the fun part of the game plan and how they want to play him," Quinn said. "There are different ways. Some people play by themselves, some people play help with zone, some people play help with two players, one over the top. That's kind of part of the fun of coaching, and finding out the different matchups as they go.

Rhodes was asked about Jones earlier this week and the cornerback and didn't hold back in talking about Jones' talent.

"Julio is Julio," Rhodes said. "[He's] big, fast, physical, can get the ball once it's in the air. I don't think he has a weakness. He's focused, doesn't talk much on the field, so it's hard to get in his head. It's Julio."

While Rhodes acknowledges the challenge of trying to stop Jones, he said won't change anything in the way he prepares for Atlanta's star receiver.

"Same regimen. Same thing," Rhodes said. "Don't believe in the hype, don't be afraid of the name. I know he's one of the best receivers in the league and I just have to go out and play with a mindset and have confidence going up against him."

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