Cowboys Add Former All-Pro to 53-Man Squad in New Roster Moves

Mike McCarthy

Getty Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy smiles during warm-ups of an NFL game.

The Dallas Cowboys are adding a former Minnesota Vikings star to the active squad as they prepare for a playoff push, starting against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Dallas is in search of their first playoff win under head coach Mike McCarthy, after crashing out a year ago in the Super Wild Card round against the San Francisco 49ers. Now, the Cowboys are calling on cornerback Xavier Rhodes to engineer a rematch against the Niners.

Dallas made three total roster moves before Monday night’s game against the Buccaneers, with Rhodes leading the way.

The @dallascowboys activated DT Johnathan Hankins from Reserve/Injured on Monday,” Dallas announced on Twitter. “The club also elevated T Aviante Collins and CB Xavier Rhodes from the practice squad prior to tonight’s Wild Card Playoff Game at Tampa Bay.”

The Cowboys are hoping that Rhodes can add some much-needed stability to the secondary, but the presence of defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins is equally important to the squad.

Dallas traded for the 30-year-old Hankins in October of this season but was placed on the injured reserve in mid-December. Before his injury, the defender was contributing consistently on the interior of the defensive line.

Rhodes Enters Playoffs Again After Visits with Vikings, Colts

During the prime of his career with the Vikings, the three-time Pro Bowler entered the postseason three times. Minnesota never went further than the NFC Championship, but he made plays in big games.

The 32-year-old corner has seven passes defended in six playoff appearances according to Pro Football Reference and has only played in one postseason game without a registered PD. He’s also nearly averaged three solo tackles a game, with 17 in those six appearances.

His last visit to the postseason actually came in 2020 with the Indianapolis Colts during his first season with the AFC South franchise. In that game, Rhodes allowed three receptions on five targets for 16 yards.

Rhodes is clearly far away from his time as an All-Pro corner, but the stats show that he has played well in the postseason despite getting older. Dallas can determine how much they play Rhodes against Tampa Bay, but won’t know the result of that gamble until the final whistle.

Cowboys Get Huge Boost with Return of Two Injured Starters

Besides the additions of Hankins and Rhodes, the Cowboys will also have the presence of two important players: linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and offensive lineman Tyler Biadasz.

Dallas Morning News reporter Michael Gehlken was the first to break the news on January 16.

“As Bucs activate C Ryan Jensen from IR, Cowboys are making a move, too,” Gehlken wrote. “NT Johnathan Hankins (pec) is officially back from a four-game IR stint. Cowboys C Tyler Biadasz and LB Leighton Vander Esch also to return tonight.”

Biadasz has locked down the starting center spot for the Cowboys‘ offensive line, but has also shown the ability to cover at guard. Having him available should make Dallas feel much more confident about their offensive line.

Meanwhile, Vander Esch is playing his first snaps since Week 15. PFR states that the linebacker had 90 combined tackles before missing the final three games of the regular season.