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.
Kyle Rudolph, the Vikings' second-year tight end, will be in the Pro Bowl.
Rudolph was named an injury replacement today because Tony Gonzalez of the Falcons pulled out because of an injury.
Rudolph is the 17th replacement player named to the NFC team.
Other Vikings in the Pro Bowl are Jared Allen, Jerome Felton, Chad Greenway, Adrian Peterson and Blair Walsh.
Rudolph had 53 receptions, nine touchdowns and 493 receiving yards this season.
First, Adrian Peterson runs for 2,097 yards a year after having major knee surgery. Then he does something almost as amazing: Getting 50 reporters from theNFL media world to agree on something.
All 50 members of the Associated Press' All-Pro selection committee, including myself, picked Peterson for their All-Pro team. The only other unanimous All-Pro selection was Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, an NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate with 20.5 sacks and 16 pass deflections. Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, who had 122 catches for an NFL-record 1,964 yards, fell one vote short of a unanimous selection.
Meanwhile, Vikings rookie kicker Blair Walsh was named to the first team with 42 votes. Vikings fullback Jerome Felton and outside linebacker Chad Greenway were named to the second team.
Felton got 12 votes and finished behind Ravens fullback Vonta Leach, who received 26. Greenway received only two votes, which was enough to earn second team behind first-teamers Von Viller of Denver (48 votes) and Aldon Smith of San Francisco (47). The other second-team outside linebackers -- Green Bay's Clay Matthews, Dallas' DeMarcus Ware and San Francisco's Ahmad Brooks -- each received one vote.
At quarterback, Peyton Manning earned first team with 43 votes. Aaron Rodgers made second team with only four votes. Tom Brady received only three votes.
Vikings center John Sullivan was thought to have a shot at one of the top two teams, but fell short. Seattle's Max Unger made first team with 16 votes, while Pittsburgh's Maurkice Pouncey was second team with 10 votes.
Sullivan received seven votes, which tied him for third. Here's the breakdown of votes by position.
Chad Greenway is Pro Bowl bound after all. For the second year in a row, Greenway will head to Hawaii as an alternate, given the nod this afternoon after Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware pulled out of the game.
Greenway delivered a terrific 2012 campaign. The Vikings credited him with a team-best 191 tackles plus seven for loss and three sacks. It was a season worthy of serious Pro Bowl consideration. But Greenway didn’t make the NFC roster after fan and player voting was completed, handicapped in big part by logistics that group traditional linebackers together with defensive-end types that play outside linebacker in 3-4 systems.
San Francisco’s Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman earned the two NFC roster spots at inside linebacker.
The outside linebacker selections were Ware, Green Bay’s Clay Matthews and San Francisco’s Aldon Smith. Now, with Ware pulling out of the all-star contest, Greenway gets the call. He’ll be one of five Vikings to play in the Pro Bowl joining Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, Blair Walsh and Jerome Felton.
Greenway becomes the first Vikings linebacker to attend back-to-back Pro Bowls since Scott Studwell went in 1987 and 1988.
It's safe to say Vikings coaches and players didn't have to labor too hard when asked recently to vote on their team Players of the Year for offense, defense and special teams. On Thursday, during a gab session with reporters, General Manager Rick Spielman announced the winners of those awards.
Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson.
Defensive Player of the Year: Chad Greenway.
Special Teams Player of the Year: Blair Walsh.
No real shockers. Peterson, a leading candidate for league MVP honors, rushed for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also tied a league record with seven runs of 50 yards or longer and was the catalyst of the Vikings' push to get into the playoffs. Oh, and if you hadn't heard, Peterson accomplished all that while coming back from major reconstructive knee surgery following tears of his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments during the Vikings' penultimate game in 2011.
Greenway continued his ascension as a player this season by leading the Vikings in tackles and stabilizing a defense that made marked improvements in 2012. The Vikings credited Greenway with 191 tackles, seven for loss and three sacks. Official NFL stats recorded 148 Greenway tackles, third best in the league behind Carolina's Luke Kuechly (164) and San Francisco's NaVorro Bowman (149).
Walsh? A sixth-round draft pick last April, he'll be headed for the Pro Bowl in two weeks after an impressive rookie campaign in which he hit 35 of his 38 field goal attempts, including all 10 from 50 yards or beyond. He also produced 53 touchbacks on 86 kickoffs.
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