The Vikings will send Harrison Smith, Danielle Hunter and Dalvin Cook — but not Eric Kendricks or Kirk Cousins — to the Pro Bowl next month.
Smith and Cook will both start in the 2020 Pro Bowl, while Hunter will be a reserve for the game, which will be played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., on Jan. 26. The Vikings were one of 12 teams with at least three Pro Bowlers.
Smith, who is headed to his fifth Pro Bowl, has three interceptions, two forced fumbles and a pair of fumble recoveries this season. He’s picked off two passes in the Vikings’ past two games, also recovering a fumble against the Chargers on Sunday, and his 11 pass breakups rank third among NFL safeties.
Cook, who was fourth among all vote-getters in the fan ballot, ranks third in the NFL with 1,654 yards from scrimmage this season, despite missing parts of two games with injuries to his right and left shoulder that could keep him out in the final two weeks of the regular season, as well. He’s scored 13 touchdowns this season, which ranks fifth in the league.
Hunter made his second Pro Bowl after posting 13 ½ sacks in the Vikings’ first 14 games. He ranks third in the NFL in sacks, and became the youngest player in league history to post 50 career sacks on Dec. 8, when he posted 2½ sacks and won NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors against the Lions.
While all three of the Vikings’ selections seemed likely to make the team, Cousins and Kendricks likely will rank as Minnesota’s two biggest snubs.
Kendricks, who’s posted 110 tackles and 12 pass breakups while forcing two fumbles and excelling in pass coverage this season, still is waiting for his first Pro Bowl pick after being left off the team in his fifth season. Cousins also seemed a strong candidate for one of the NFC’s three quarterback spots, with the conference’s second-best passer rating (111.1) and completion percentage (70.5) to go with 25 touchdowns against just five interceptions. His numbers compare favorably to those of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but the two-time NFL MVP joined New Orleans’ Drew Brees and Seattle’s Russell Wilson on the team while Cousins was left off.
Twelve Ravens, including second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson, and seven Saints, highlighted by league-leading receiver Michael Thomas, made the team.