Running back Adrian Peterson marked his return to the Vikings after a long NFL suspension by being selected to his seventh career Pro Bowl.
Peterson leads the league with 1,314 rushing yards in 14 games and has scored nine touchdowns. He is averaging 4.6 yards per carry, his highest average since 2012. The 30-year-old has also caught 28 passes for 206 yards.
“It’s always good and an honor to make the Pro Bowl, but you don’t feel as fulfilled when you’re not making it to the postseason,” he told Vikings.com. “This one is a little more fulfilling with us having a shot at the playoffs.”
He was last selected to the Pro Bowl in 2013. He only played one game last season after being banned by the NFL due to a child abuse charge.
Peterson finished second at his position in the fan voting behind Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman. Voting by the fans, players and coaches each make up one third of the Pro Bowl’s selection process.
Only guard Randall McDaniel, defensive tackle Alan Page and wide receiver Cris Carter have earned more Pro Bowl nods with the Vikings than Peterson, who is tied with offensive tackle Ron Yary on the team’s all-time list.
Peterson was the only member of the 9-5 Vikings to be selected to the Pro Bowl, which will be played on Sunday, Jan. 31 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson appeared to have a strong case, too. Patterson has scored on a pair of kickoff returns and his 31.1-yard average on kickoff returns leads the NFL.
But Seattle’s Tyler Lockett and Philadelphia’s Darren Sproles were selected as the two Pro Bowl return specialists.
Nose tackle Linval Joseph, safety Harrison Smith and outside linebacker Anthony Barr might have warranted consideration, too, but missed games due to injuries, and the team’s struggles in primetime may have hurt them.
Last season, when they went 7-9 and missed the playoffs, no Vikings were selected to the Pro Bowl, the first time that had happened since 1983.