Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks is overlooked no more.
Snubbed in the Pro Bowl selection process a month ago, the fifth-year veteran earned a more prestigious honor when he made first team on the Associated Press’ NFL All-Pro team.
Kendricks, who surpassed Rip Hawkins to become the first player to lead the Vikings in tackles in each of his first five seasons, received 18 votes from AP’s panel of 50 voters, including one from the Star Tribune.
That was enough to join Seattle’s five-time first-team selection Bobby Wagner (32 votes) and the Saints’ Demario Davis (18) as the first-team linebackers.
Kendricks turned heads among voters because of his versatility as a sure tackler and the league’s best coverage linebacker. His 12 passes defensed were a league high for a linebacker, while the 83.0 passer rating on balls thrown in his direction was 20 points lower than the league average for linebackers, according to Pro Football Focus.
Or, as teammate Anthony Harris put it last week, “I learn coverage technique watching him play. I’m watching him and I’m like, ‘Is this guy a DB or a linebacker?’”
Edge rusher Danielle Hunter and safety Harrison Smith were two other Vikings to receive votes from the Star Tribune. Neither made the first- or second-team units. Smith received seven votes to fall one short of second team. Hunter received just four votes in a crowded field that saw Arizona’s NFL sack leader Chandler Jones (32 votes) and Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt (22) make first team.
Other Vikings receiving votes were Dalvin Cook (1 point at running back and 1 point at flex), right tackle Brian O’Neill (1), Harris at safety (1) and linebacker Anthony Barr (1).
Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey made the first team at two positions.
McCaffrey rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns while catching a phenomenal 116 passes for 1,005 yards and four TDs. He became the third player in NFL history to finish with 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season, joining Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig, who is on the senior ballot for the hall this year.
That so impressed the 50 members of a nationwide media panel who regularly cover the NFL for McCaffrey to be voted the first-team running back and the top flex player. The flex position was created in 2016 to reward players who epitomize the way offense is now played in pro football. Not one fits that description better than McCaffrey, whose terrific season came for a 5-11 team.
“It means a lot,'' says McCaffrey, a third-year pro told the Associated Press. ”It is a big honor and that is something that you don't work hard for it, but when it comes you are really grateful and appreciative."
McCaffrey's achievement was complemented by the unanimous selections of New Orleans receiver Michael Thomas and New England cornerback Stephon Gilmore. It's the second straight season both made the squad, Thomas doing it with an NFL-record 149 catches, Gilmore anchoring the league's top-ranked defense.
Ravens sensation Lamar Jackson, who in his second season led Baltimore to a league-best 14-2 mark, was chosen as quarterback. Jackson and McCaffrey were among 14 first-time All-Pros.
Rams DT Aaron Donald and Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner are All-Pros for the fifth time; Cowboys right guard Zack Martin and Ravens kicker Justin Tucker made it for a fourth time.
Bears kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson, a former Viking, made his third All-Pro roster, as did Eagles center Jason Kelce and Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
All-Pros for the second time included Thomas, Gilmore, Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones, Steelers DT Cam Heyward, Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater, Colts left guard Quenton Nelson, and Ravens defensive back Marcus Peters, who shared that spot with the teammate Marlon Humphrey and the Chiefs' Tyrann Mathieu (second appearance).
Thomas, Gilmore, Nelson, Hopkins, Kelce, Martin, Donald, Wagner and Tucker repeated from 2018.
Baltimore led the All-Pro Team with five selections, while New Orleans had four, Baltimore and Pittsburgh each had three. There were 16 AFC players and 13 from the NFC.
The Associated Press contributed to this story
The Associated Press 2019 NFL All-Pro team selected by a national panel of 50 media members:
Quarterback -- Lamar Jackson, Baltimore
Running Back -- Christian McCaffrey, Carolina
Flex -- Christian McCaffrey, Carolina
Tight End -- George Kittle, San Francisco
Wide Receivers -- Michael Thomas, New Orleans; DeAndre Hopkins, Houston
Left Tackle -- Ronnie Stanley, Baltimore
Right Tackle -- Ryan Ramczyk, New Orleans
Left Guard -- Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis
Right Guard -- Zack Martin, Dallas
Center -- Jason Kelce, Philadelphia
Edge Rushers -- Chandler Jones, Arizona; T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh
Interior Linemen -- Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams; Cam Heyward, Pittsburgh
Linebackers -- Bobby Wagner, Seattle; Demario Davis, New Orleans; Eric Kendricks, Minnesota.
Cornerbacks -- Stephon Gilmore, New England; Tre'Davious White, Buffalo
Safeties -- Jamal Adams, New York Jets; Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh
Defensive Back -- Marcus Peters, Baltimore; Tyrann Mathieu, Kansas City; and Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore
Placekicker -- Justin Tucker, Baltimore
Punter -- Brett Kern, Tennessee
Kick Returner -- Cordarrelle Patterson, Chicago
Punt Returner -- Deonte Harris, New Orleans
Special Teamer -- Matthew Slater, New England
Quarterback -- Russell Wilson, Seattle
Running Back -- Derrick Henry, Tennessee
Flex -- Derrick Henry, Tennessee
Tight End -- Travis Kelce, Kansas City
Wide Receivers -- Julio Jones, Atlanta; Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay
Left Tackle -- David Bakhtiari, Green Bay
Right Tackle -- Mitchell Schwartz, Kansas City
Left Guard -- Joel Bitonio, Cleveland; Joe Thuney, New England
Right Guard -- Marshal Yanda, Baltimore
Center -- Rodney Hudson, Oakland
Edge Rushers -- Shaq Barrett, Tampa Bay; Cameron Jordan, New Orleans
Interior Linemen -- Grady Jarrett, Atlanta; DeForest Buckner, San Francisco
Linebackers -- Luke Kuechly, Carolina; Darius Leonard, Indianapolis; T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh
Cornerbacks -- Richard Sherman, San Francisco; Marcus Peters, Baltimore
Safeties -- Justin Simmons, Denver; Tyrann Mathieu, Kansas City
Placekicker -- Josh Lambo, Jacksonville
Punter -- Tress Way, Washington
Kick Returner -- Mecole Hardman, Kansas City
Punt Returner -- Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh
Special Teamer -- Cordarrelle Patterson, Chicago, and J.T. Gray, New Orleans
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore, 47; Russell Wilson, Seattle, 3.
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina, 27; Derrick Henry, Tennessee, 20; Nick Chubb, Cleveland, 2; Dalvin Cook, Minnesota, 1.
George Kittle, San Francisco, 33; Travis Kelce, Kansas City, 17.
Michael Thomas, New Orleans, 50; DeAndre Hopkins, Houston, 18; Julio Jones, Atlanta, 16; Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay, 14; Kenny Golladay, Detroit, 1; Julian Edelman, New England, 1.
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina, 18; Derrick Henry, Tennessee, 7; Travis Kelce, Kansas City, 6; Julio Jones, Atlanta, 5; Aaron Jones, Green Bay, 3; Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams, 3; Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay, 2; Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers, 1; Dalvin Cook, Minnesota, 1; Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers, 1; Kenny Golladay, Detroit, 1; George Kittle, San Francisco, 1; Darren Waller, Oakland, 1.
Ronnie Stanley, Baltimore, 42; David Bakhtiari, Green Bay, 5; Terron Armstead, New Orleans, 2; Tyron Smith, Dallas, 1.
Ryan Ramczyk, New Orleans, 30; Mitchell Schwartz, Kansas City, 13; Lane Johnson, Philadelphia, 3; Trent Brown, Oakland, 2; La'el Collins, Dallas, 1; Brian O'Neill, Minnesota, 1.
Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis, 44; Joe Thuney, New England, 3; Joel Bitonio, Cleveland, 3;
Zack Martin, Dallas, 24; Marshal Yanda, Baltimore, 16; Brandon Brooks, Philadelphia, 9; David DeCastro, Pittsburgh, 1.
Jason Kelce, Philadelphia, 29; Rodney Hudson, Oakland, 9; Travis Frederick, Dallas, 2; Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh, 4; Ben Jones, Tennessee, 2; Mitch Morse, Buffalo, 2; Ryan Kelly, Indianapolis, 2.
Chandler Jones, Arizona, 32; T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh, 22; Shaq Barrett, Tampa Bay, 18; Cameron Jordan, New Orleans, 12; Za'Darius Smith, Green Bay, 9; Danielle Hunter, Minnesota, 4; Nick Bosa, San Francisco, 2; Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers, 1.
Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams, 49; Cam Heyward, Pittsburgh, 23; Grady Jarrett, Atlanta, 11; DeForest Buckner, San Francisco, 7; Chris Jones, Kansas City, 5; Jordan Phillips, Buffalo, 2; Vita Vea, Tampa Bay, 1; Frank Clark, Kansas City, 1; Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia, 1.
Bobby Wagner, Seattle, 32; Demario Davis, New Orleans, 18; Eric Kendricks, Minnesota, 18; Luke Kuechly, Carolina, 17; Darius Leonard, Indianapolis, 11; T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh, 11; Lavonte David, Tampa Bay, 10; Fred Warner, San Francisco, 6; Blake Martinez, Green Bay, 4; D'onta Hightower, New England, 4; Jamie Collins, New England, 3; Kyle Van Noy, New England, 3; Chandler Jones, Arizona, 2; Shaq Barrett, Tampa Bay, 2; Tremaine Edmunds, Buffalo, 2; Anthony Barr, Minnesota, 1; Za'Darius Smith, Green Bay, 1; Von Miller, Denver, 1; Matthew Judon, Baltimore, 1; Jaylon Smith, Dallas, 1; Joe Schobert, Cleveland, 1; Khalil Mack, Chicago, 1.
Stephon Gilmore, New England, 50; Tre'Davious White, Buffalo, 38; Richard Sherman, San Francisco, 10; Marcus Peters, Baltimore, 1; Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans, 1.
Jamal Adams, New York Jets, 28; Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh, 27; Justin Simmons, Denver, 9; Tyrann Mathieu, Kansas City, 8; Harrison Smith, Minnesota, 7; Kevin Byard, Tennessee, 7; Devin McCourty, New England, 4; Budda Baker, Arizona, 4; Earl Thomas, Seattle, 3; Terrell Edmunds, Pittsburgh, 1; Anthony Harris, Minnesota, 1; Malcolm Jenkins, Philadelphia, 1.
Marcus Peters, Baltimore, 7; Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore, 7; Tyrann Mathieu, Kansas City, 7; Richard Sherman, San Francisco, 5; Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh, 4; Logan Ryan, Tennessee, 4; Jonathan Jones, New England, 3; J.C. Jackson, New England, 2; K'Waun Williams, San Francisco, 2; Devin McCourty New England, 2; Chris Harris Jr., Denver, 1; Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans, 1; Tre'Davious White, Buffalo, 1; Kenny Moore, Indianapolis, 1; Justin Simmons, Denver, 1; Tramon Williams, Green Bay, 1; Jamal Adams, New York Jets, 1.
Justin Tucker, Baltimore, 34; Josh Lambo, Jacksonville, 11; Wil Lutz, New Orleans, 3; Harrison Butker, Kansas City, 2.
Brett Kern, Tennessee, 34; Tress Way, Washington, 13; Bryan Anger, Houston, 2; Logan Cooke, Jacksonville, 1.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Chicago, 39; Mecole Hardman, Kansas City, 4; Deontae Harris, New Orleans, 2; Jamal Agnew, Detroit, 2; Brandon Wilson, Cincinnati, 2; Andre Roberts, Buffalo, 1.
Deonte Harris, New Orleans, 29; Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh, 12; Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis, 4; Andre Roberts, Buffalo, 2; Mecole Hardman, Kansas City, 1; Braxton Berrios, New York Jets, 1.
Matthew Slater, New England, 37; J.T. Gray, New Orleans, 3; Cordarrelle Patterson, Chicago, 3; Derek Watt, Los Angeles Chargers, 2; Raheem Mostert, San Francisco, 1; Nate Ebner, New England, 1; Deonte Harris, New Orleans, 1; Tyler Matakevich, Pittsburgh, 1; Cory Littleton, Los Angeles Rams, 1.
x-One voter did not select a punt returner.