Minnesota Vikings: 6 Players That Could Make the Pro Bowl
The Minnesota Vikings' season has not gone as planned. Currently at 1-6, head coach Leslie Frazier had greater expectations when the team traded for the six-time Pro Bowl quarterback, Donovan McNabb. Instead of reviving his career, after two consecutive seasons of getting benched, McNabb has probably made his last start in the NFL.
Even with the disappointing results, there are several players having good individual seasons, and two of them are leading the NFL in at least one statistical category.
A quick scan of the Vikings' roster reveals seven players with a combined 25 Pro Bowl appearances. Last season the Vikings had three Pro Bowl players after finishing the season at 6-10. If the Vikings are to send that many again this year they will need to start winning. In order to match last season's record, Minnesota will have to finish 5-4—a huge improvement from the start of the season.
It's a good bet that the Vikings will send at least two players this season with as many as six that could receive consideration.
Here are six Vikings and their chances to make the Pro Bowl.
Long Shot: Defensive Tackle Kevin Williams
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Kevin Williams has been named to six Pro Bowls in eight seasons, including the last five. Besides his rookie season, the only year Williams failed to make the Pro Bowl was in 2005 when he missed two games.
After serving a two-game suspension to open the season, Williams has had a slow start with only six tackles and no sacks. Plagued with plantar fasciitis, Williams may not be at 100 percent at any time this season.
If Williams makes the Pro Bowl it will be because he had a great second half of the season, or because of his reputation.
Long Shot: Offensive Guard Steve Hutchinson
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In 2010, Steve Hutchinson suffered a thumb injury that caused him to miss five games and end a streak of seven consecutive Pro Bowls.
Hutchinson has come back healthy in 2011. With Adrian Peterson on pace to become the Vikings' all-time leading career ground gainer, Hutchinson should get some of the credit and be rewarded with his eighth Pro Bowl selection.
Like Kevin Williams, Hutchinson's reputation as a perennial Pro Bowler may help to get him selected.
On the Bubble: Defensive End Brian Robison
With the departure of Ray Edwards (Ray who?), Brian Robison was given the opportunity to start opposite Jared Allen.
He's taken the opportunity and run with it! Robison's 4.5 sacks tie him for 10th in the conference, and if he continues on this pace, he will surpass the career-high 8.5 sacks Edwards had in 2009 when he started 16 games for the Vikings.
Unfortunately for Robison, his "encounter" with Packers offensive lineman T.J. Lang could cost him a suspension from the league. It won't help him garner any support from his peers if he gets tagged with being a dirty player.
If Robison can finish the year with 10 or more sacks, he should get some Pro Bowl consideration.
Should Make It: Receiver/Running Back/Returner Percy Harvin
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Even with his annual injury concerns, Percy Harvin is still the Vikings' biggest threat on offense.
Named to the Pro Bowl his rookie season as the kick returner, Harvin started the 2011 season with a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Chargers, the fourth in his career. Harvin is averaging a touchdown every 22.8 returns. Compare that to Josh Cribbs who is the all-time leader with eight touchdowns in 316 kickoff returns, an average of 39.5 returns per touchdown.
Currently tied for the team lead in receptions with 27, and averaging 10.5 yards per carry when handed the ball, Harvin is the Vikings' most effective weapon on offense. Unfortunately for Harvin, he has not scored an offensive touchdown yet this season.
If he can remain healthy, and can cross the goal line a few more times over the last nine games, Harvin should receive some consideration to make the Pro Bowl.
No Doubt About It: Defensive End Jared Allen
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In 2010, Jared Allen failed to make the Pro Bowl after three consecutive appearances, despite his team-leading 11 sacks that was good for 10th in the league.
Criticized for having an off year, he has come back with a vengeance in 2011.
Currently leading the league with 11.5 sacks, Jared Allen is on pace for a record-setting season. Allen needs 11 more sacks in nine games to tie Michael Strahan's 22.5 single-season record.
Along with his 11.5 sacks, Allen also has an interception, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Count on seeing quite a few more calf roping celebrations as Allen makes it to another Pro Bowl.
Count on It: Running Back Adrian Peterson
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Adrian Peterson has made the Pro Bowl every year he has been in the league since 2007. With 175 yards against the Packers on Sunday, he currently leads the NFL with 146 carries, 712 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns and a 101.7 yards per game average.
There's no reason to believe that his run of consecutive Pro Bowls will end this season.
About the only downside for Peterson is that his longest run from scrimmage, so far this season, of 54 yards is the lowest compared to his longest run from every other season—that's how good of a season Peterson is having.
Unlike another Minnesota athlete that signed a very lucrative contract, Peterson has continued to perform at the level that earned him the seven-year $96 million contract.