The Vikings will send four players to the Pro Bowl in late-January, assuming they do not make the Super Bowl. The four players chosen were wide receiver Adam Thielen, defensive end Everson Griffen, linebacker Anthony Barr and cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
Barr was the only one of the four not to be selected as a starter. Thielen received the second-most votes among NFC receivers and Griffen and Rhodes both were top vote-getters at their position.
For Griffen and Barr, it will be their third-straight trips. Griffen’s selection is obvious given his sack numbers. Barr’s selection, however, shows those in charge understand the more subtle aspects of his game. Barr does not have the high tackle numbers of other interior linebackers or the sack numbers of pass-rush linebackers. But he impacts the game in all facets due to his tremendous skill and versatility.
Rhodes’ selection is his second in as many years as he has established himself as one of the league’s premier shutdown corners. Rhodes has put the clamps on elite receivers week after week, including four Pro Bowlers: A.J. Green, Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Michael Thomas.
But Thielen is the big story. Vikings fans thought that he had broken out as a reliable target in 2016, finishing with 967 yards on 69 catches. Little did they know that he had yet another gear and he has ridden that to elite status. Everyone knows the story: undrafted, made the Minnesota roster from a rookie tryout camp. Four years later, he is fifth in the NFL in receiving yards. His first Pro Bowl selection may be one of the most unexpected in a long time, but well-deserved.
Despite having the second-best record in the NFC, Minnesota ends up tied with Seattle for the fourth-most Pro Bowl selections in the conference. Philadelphia and New Orleans lead the way with six and the Rams are third with five. As a side note, the Saints became the first team since 1975 to send two tailbacks to the Pro Bowl; Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram will both be going to Orlando.
The Vikings lack of Pro Bowlers despite having such a complete roster is indicative of the kind of they have been this year. From the start, Minnesota has been greater than the sum of its parts, a stalwart offense and stout defense despite lacking household names. That being said, one cannot help but wonder how Harrison Smith and Linval Joseph failed to make the roster. Our staff will release our picks for the biggest Vikings Pro Bowl snubs a little later.
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