Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.
Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.
Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.
Vikings defensive end Jared Allen was chosen for the All-Pro team and fell one vote short of being a unanimous selection.
Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson was also one short vote of being unanimous on the Associated Press team.
A nationwide panel of 50 voters chose the team, and Allen and Johnson were the leading vote-getters.
Aaron Rodgers was the quarterback, beating Drew Brees 47.5-2.5 in a lopsided balloting that might signal how the league's most valuable player balloting will fall.
Allen, also All-Pro from 2007-2009, told the AP: "The All-Pro Team to me is one of the all-time accomplishments. Pro Bowls are nice, but guys get voted in longer than they should and guys who deserve to go don't always get to. It's the whole league. It's not just an AFC and NFC thing. So to me this is the honor I hold the highest. It's something to put on the resume and tell the grandkids about."
The only rookie on the team was Arizona kick returner Patrick Peterson, who had four punt return TDs.
Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis had 48 votes and Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs had 47.
Other All-Pros on offense: Saints guards Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans; running backs Maurice Jones-Drew of Jacksonville and LeSean McCoy of Philadelphia; fullback Vonta Leach of Baltimore; Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and receiver Wes Welker; Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey; and tackles Jason Peters of the Eagles and Joe Thomas of the Browns.
On defense joining Allen, Suggs and Revis are end Jason Pierre-Paul of the Giants; tackles Haloti Ngata of Baltimore and Justin Smith of the 49ers; linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman of San Francisco; linebackers DeMarcus Ware of Dallas and Derrick Johnson of the Chiefs; cornerback Charles Woodson of the Packers; and safeties Troy Polamalu of the Steelers and Eric Weddle of the Chargers.
The 49ers, who led the team with five players, also had kicker David Akers and punter Andy Lee on the team.
There are 16 NFC players and 12 AFC players on the team.
The NFL added Kevin Williams to the NFC Pro Bowl roster today. He replaces Lions rookie Ndamukong Suh, who is injured.
Williams makes the Pro Bowl for the sixth time in his eight-year career.
Running back Adrian Peterson was the only Vikings player named to the team originally.
Just how tough of a position have the Vikings put themselves in by falling to 2-5 with Sunday's loss at New England?
Since the NFL adopted its current 12-team playoff format in 1990, only three teams that opened with that record were able to rebound and make the postseason.
The list includes the 1990 New Orleans Saints; the 1995 Detroit Lions; and the 2002 New York Jets. The Saints and Lions lost in the wild-card round and the Jets beat the Colts after winning the AFC East but then lost to the Raiders.
The Vikings started 2-5 in 2007 under Brad Childress but rebounded to win five in a row at one point and six of their last nine. Childress' team, however, fell short in its bid to make the postseason losing 22-19 at Denver in overtime in the regular-season finale.
Three New Orleans Saints players were fined a total of $30,000 for four different hits in Sunday's NFC Championship game. Three of those hits were delivered to Brett Favre.
As we mentioned earlier Bobby McCray was fined $20,000 for two hits on Favre. The first came after Favre handed off to Percy Harvin in the first quarter. McCray then hit Favre in the knees on his interception in the third quarter, causing Favre to suffer a left ankle injury.
Defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove was fined $5,000 for unnecessary roughness when he lifted Favre up and slammed him to the turf in the third quarter.
Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice has pulled out of the Pro Bowl, according to ESPN. Rice was extremely banged up after Sunday's loss to the Saints in the NFC Championship game. He will be replaced by Atlanta's Roddy White.
Rice is the fourth Vikings player to withdraw from the Pro Bowl, joining Brett Favre, Antoine Winfield and Percy Harvin. There could be more too.
Left guard Steve Hutchinson battled several injuries this season and defensive tackle Kevin Williams was listed as questionable last week because of a knee injury.
Williams said Monday that he planned to play but we'll see if that changes in the next few days.
UPDATE: It didn't take long to get than answered. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Williams has pulled out and will be replaced by San Francisco's Justin Smith.
The Vikings had an NFL-high 10 Pro Bowl players.
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