Everson Griffen, Harrison Smith and Cordarrelle Patterson are heading back to the Pro Bowl, and cornerback Xavier Rhodes will be coming with them.
The NFL announced Tuesday that those four Vikings players were selected to this year’s Pro Bowl, which is back to pitting the NFC against the AFC after three years of a fantasy draft format for the league’s annual all-star game.
Griffen and Smith both earned their second consecutive Pro Bowl selections, which are based on voting from coaches, players and fans.
Griffen has 44 tackles, eight sacks and a pair of forced fumbles this season.
Smith, who led the fan voting at his position, made 84 tackles and recorded two sacks in 12 games before missing the past two because of an ankle injury.
“I don’t play for my own accolades. I play to win games,” Smith said in a statement. “But it is an honor to be selected again for the Pro Bowl. Going last year with four teammates was a good experience. I was more excited to see Xavier made it than myself. ”
This is the first Pro Bowl nod for Rhodes, who has picked off a career-high four passes this season and has been credited with 10 pass breakups.
“Growing up I always thought if you made the Pro Bowl you were viewed as the best at your position in the eyes of the other players and fans so it’s definitely an honor,” Rhodes said in a statement. “I’ve worked hard and put in work all year to be the best corner I can for this team.”
Patterson, who leads the NFL in kickoff return yards and returned one for a touchdown, was voted in as the NFC’s return specialist. It’s his second Pro Bowl selection as a returner, the first coming during his 2013 rookie season.
Kyle Rudolph was the team’s most glaring omission from this year’s original Pro Bowl selections. He is tied for fourth among NFL tight ends with 66 receptions and also ranks in the top five in yards and touchdowns.
The Pro Bowl will be held Jan. 29 in Orlando, Fla.
Johnson and Johnson
After placing defensive tackle Tom Johnson, who suffered a season-ending hamstring injury in Sunday’s loss to Indianapolis, on injured reserve, the Vikings brought back Toby Johnson to their 53-man roster.
Toby Johnson, also a defensive tackle, spent the first 14 weeks of the season on the practice squad before the Vikings promoted him to the 53-man roster last Monday, after placing defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd on IR. But they waived him Saturday to make room for running back Adrian Peterson.
“I was sad, but I’d choose AP over me, too,” joked Johnson, who knew it was a possibility his initial stint on the active roster might not last long.
Despite clearing waivers to become a free agent, Johnson remained in the area and re-signed Tuesday morning. He is expected to make his NFL debut Saturday in Green Bay, joining Linval Joseph and Shamar Stephen in the defensive tackle rotation.
• Wide receiver Adam Thielen was a participant in Tuesday’s walk-through after a neck injury knocked him out of Sunday’s loss.
• It appeared as if right guard Brandon Fusco, who missed the Colts game because of a concussion, was not participating in the afternoon session.