Minnesota Vikings cut Xavier Rhodes, Linval Joseph

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 20: Xavier Rhodes #29 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up prior to the start of the game aganist the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 20, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings are moving on from two veteran players on defense.

The team announced Friday it terminated contracts with cornerback Xavier Rhodes and defensive tackle Linval Joseph. The moves free up nearly $18 million in salary cap space as the Vikings prepare to enter NFL free agency next Wednesday, with the legal tampering period starting Monday.

The Vikings drafted Rhodes in 2013, and he started 97 of a possible 104 games over seven seasons. His play declined last year, with six pass deflections and zero interceptions in 15 starts. He made 63 tackles, including seven tackles for a loss last season and battled injuries throughout his time in Minnesota.

Joseph came to the Vikings in 2014 and made 89 starts over six seasons. He had 44 tackles, three sacks, six quarterback hits and six tackles for loss last season.

Statement from Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman

“Both Linval and Xavier have personified what it means to be a Minnesota Viking since joining our organization, providing incredible leadership on the field, in the locker room and within the community. We are all grateful for their hard work and all they’ve done to help build our culture here in Minnesota. This decision comes now to allow Linval and Xavier to enter free agency prior to the start of the new league year. We are sincerely appreciative of their contributions and commitment and will remain in communication as all parties navigate free agency moving forward.”

Statement from Viking Head Coach Mike Zimmer

“Xavier and Linval were key parts of building this team and establishing the Vikings defense the way we wanted. They’re pros and made everyone around them better. I wish them the best and I know Rick and the personnel staff will stay in communication with them during free agency.”