The NFL will announce tonight at 7 p.m. CT which players have been 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 game.

Five Vikings players were selected to last year's game, though running back Adrian Peterson was the only original selection from that team. The rest of the guys, including Teddy Bridgewater, were injury fill-ins.

It is unlikely the Vikings will have that many players this year when the results of voting from coaches, players and fans are revealed tonight.

Based strictly on performance, tight end Kyle Rudolph is their best bet. Rudolph is tied for fourth among NFL tight ends with 66 receptions, which are a career high for him. He is fifth at his position with 670, also a career high. His six receiving touchdowns are second among tight ends.

Cordarrelle Patterson has a good shot, too. He leads the NFL in kickoff return yards and took one to the house. But there will be only one return specialist from each conference, so he could get edged out by Tyler Lockett, who does double duty on returns for the Seahawks.

Second-year wide receiver Stefon Diggs ranks 10th in the NFL with 80 catches in a dozen games. But he is probably a longshot since he is 24th in receiving yards with 874 and has only reached the end zone twice.

On the opposite side of the ball, cornerback Xavier Rhodes seems to be a strong candidate based on his play, which has been graded favorably by Pro Football Focus. But cornerback is always a crowded group and, fair or not, reputation is usually a factor, especially in the fan balloting.

Nose tackle Linval Joseph is also worthy of Pro Bowl consideration.

Safety Harrison Smith has missed the past two games and has had a down year but his lofty standards. But he is the Vikings' only realistic candidate to make a second straight Pro Bowl appearance in January.

Bridgewater and Peterson got hurt, defensive end Everson Griffen only has eight sacks and outside linebacker Anthony Barr just got called out by his coach for substandard play in "all" areas the past several weeks.

Check back later tonight to find out if any of these guys made the cut.

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