Vikings' Adrian Peterson selected to Pro Bowl

Adrian Peterson leads the league in both rushes and rushing yards and is just one touchdown shy of the NFL lead among running backs. EPA/TANNEN MAURY


Adrian Peterson, RB, seventh Pro Bowl selection: The NFL's leading rusher seemed like the Minnesota Vikings' obvious pick, after carrying the team's offense for much of the season. He has a nine-yard lead over Tampa Bay's Doug Martin in his bid for his third NFL rushing title, and needs one touchdown in the season's final two games for his eighth 10-score season. Peterson, who leads the league with 286 carries, hasn't been as big a part of the Vikings' passing game as they hoped, catching only 28 passes for 206 yards, but his effect on the team's production made him a shoo-in for the Pro Bowl after his return from last year's suspension.


Linval Joseph, NT: A foot injury has kept Joseph out for the past three games, and probably cost him a chance to reach his first Pro Bowl after he won NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors on Nov. 11. Joseph has 54 combined tackles this season in 11 games, and had asserted himself as one of the best run stoppers in the league before he was injured on Nov. 29 in Atlanta. If he's able to return for the Vikings' final two games, he might still have a chance to reach the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement.

Harrison Smith, S: The fact that Smith didn't go last year, after intercepting five passes and posting three sacks, probably earned him enough notoriety that he would have merited strong consideration this year. But like Joseph, his candidacy was hurt by nagging injuries -- first a knee and then a hamstring -- that have limited Smith to just a handful of snaps since Nov. 22, when he collided with Terence Newman. He has intercepted only one pass this year and posted one sack; as well as he has played, his numbers weren't impressive enough to get him past a strong cast of players that included Charles Woodson, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. But with Arizona's Tyrann Mathieu out for the year because of an ACL injury, there might be an opportunity for Smith as an injury replacement.

Cordarrelle Patterson, KR: He was named an All-Pro as a rookie, and leads the NFL in both kick return average (31.1 yards) and return touchdowns (two). But after a subpar season in 2014, Patterson didn't get his second trip to the Pro Bowl as a return man.