The Minnesota Vikings had four players named to the Pro Bowl. Here’s a look at who was and wasn’t selected:
Everson Griffen, DE, third Pro Bowl: No surprise here. Griffen led all NFC defensive ends with 305,291 votes. He’s in the midst of a career season with 13.0 sacks, including a streak of eight consecutive games with a sack in Weeks 1-8.
Xavier Rhodes, CB, second Pro Bowl: Rhodes have been closed for Vikings’ opponents all season long. Rhodes led all NFC cornerbacks with 222,137 votes and is a critical part of the Vikings' No. 3-ranked pass defense, which is limiting teams to 215.8 passing yards per game. From Julio Jones to Antonio Brown to Mike Evans and Michael Thomas, Rhodes has shut down the league’s top receivers again and again this season.
Adam Thielen, WR, first Pro Bowl: Throughout his breakout season, Thielen has shown why he’s one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. He’s Case Keenum’s most targeted playmaker, totaling 83 catches for 1,191 yards and four touchdowns in the first 15 weeks. Thielen is the Vikings' go-to guy on third down, totaling a league-high 32 receptions.
Anthony Barr, LB, third Pro Bowl: Barr is second on the team with 47 solo tackles and a big contributor on a defense that has limited teams to a 26.3 percent conversion rate on third down. He fits Minnesota’s scheme brilliantly and has a range of ability at linebacker.
Harrison Smith, S: Um. How? Smith, who made the Pro Bowl the past two years, is ranked as the No. 1 safety by Pro Football Focus and has made his case for the NFL’s defensive player of the year award. This snub leaves many, including this writer, very confused.
Case Keenum, QB: His name has been thrown around as a possible MVP candidate but Keenum didn’t crack the top 10 among quarterbacks in voting. The Vikings are one of two playoff-bound teams with quarterbacks who weren’t starting in Week 1, and Keenum has been a major reason the Vikings have been able to maintain the success they’ve had this season. Keenum has the third-highest Total QBR among eligible quarterbacks and is completing a career-high 67.9 percent of his passes this season.
Eric Kendricks, LB: You know who has more tackles than Anthony Barr? Eric Kendricks. The third-year linebacker has 60 tackles, a sack and the Vikings' only pick-six of the season. His coverage skills have improved immensely from 2016 to now and Minnesota is essentially set at middle linebacker for the foreseeable future.
Linval Joseph, DT: Find a better run-stopping nose tackle in the NFL. You know why teams are terrified to run on the Vikings' defense? Because of the 329-pound anchor in the middle of the No. 2 run defense in the NFL. Joseph is an athletic freak. He has a rare combination of high-powered athleticism, power, strength and technique. He made the Pro Bowl last year and should have been a sure bet this season. Just ask the guards and centers whose lives he has made a living nightmare this season.