Four Vikings were named to the 2018 Pro Bowl on Tuesday night, inviting plenty of speculation about snubs from the roster of the NFC North champions.
Three defenders — cornerback Xavier Rhodes, defensive end Everson Griffen and linebacker Anthony Barr — were voted in for the Vikings’ second-ranked defense.
Receiver Adam Thielen made his first Pro Bowl. He’s fifth in the NFL with a career-high 1,191 receiving yards on 83 catches. Thielen is the third Minnesota native to make the Pro Bowl with the Vikings, joining center Matt Birk and guard Milt Sunde.
Griffen, 29, makes his third straight Pro Bowl with a career-high 13 sacks and three forced fumbles in 13 games. Barr, leading the Vikings with seven tackles for a loss, is also going to his third straight Pro Bowl in his fourth NFL season.
Rhodes is on his way to his second straight Pro Bowl, his first since signing a five-year, $78 million contract last offseason. Rhodes follows the opposing No. 1 receiver more often than not and has a team-leading nine pass deflections (two interceptions).
But what about safety Harrison Smith? He missed the cut after making back-to-back Pro Bowls in the past two seasons, despite putting up his best numbers in a season since his first year under Mike Zimmer in 2014. Smith is tied for the Vikings lead with nine pass deflections (three interceptions).
Safeties Earl Thomas (Seahawks), Malcolm Jenkins (Eagles) and Landon Collins (Giants) were voted in as NFC safeties by coaches, players and fans.
Nose tackle Linval Joseph also could be considered a snub from the Vikings roster given his dominance as a run stopper for Minnesota’s second-ranked run defense.
Defensive tackles Fletcher Cox (Eagles), Aaron Donald (Rams) and Gerald McCoy (Buccaneers) were voted in for the NFC.
Middle linebacker Eric Kendricks is also putting together an impressive season for the Vikings, leading the team again with 101 combined tackles. He will lead the team in tackles for the third time in three NFL seasons.
The Steelers had the most Pro Bowl selections for any one team with eight. The Eagles and Saints led the way for NFC teams with six each. Five teams had no players chosen, including the Packers and Bears.
This season, the Pro Bowl is in Orlando on Jan. 28. The Vikings might not want to see any of their players playing in it, anyway, because it would mean they are preparing for the Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium the following week.