After his record-breaking rookie season, Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson was given a higher honor than any first-year Minnesota player since Cordarrelle Patterson.
Jefferson was named a second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press' panel of sportswriters on Friday, receiving five votes among the 50 ballots cast.
The 22nd overall pick, who was drafted with the first-round selection the Vikings got after trading Stefon Diggs to Buffalo, caught 88 passes for 1,400 yards, breaking Randy Moss' team records in both categories and posting more yards by a rookie receiver than any player in the Super Bowl era.
He is the first Vikings rookie on one of the All-Pro teams since Patterson received first-team All-Pro honors as a kick returner in 2013. Jefferson's five votes put him behind Green Bay's Davante Adams (49), Diggs (48), Kansas City's Tyreek Hill (24) and Arizona's DeAndre Hopkins (21).
Linebacker Eric Kendricks, who finished eighth at the position with three votes, was the only other Viking to receive All-Pro votes. Despite finishing second in the NFL with 1,557 rushing yards, Dalvin Cook did not receive a vote for the running back spot; Tennessee's Derrick Henry received 47 and New Orleans' Alvin Kamara got three.
The Vikings have had five first-team All-Pros in Mike Zimmer's seven seasons, with Kendricks the most recent selection in 2019. Jefferson is the seventh player on the second team in Zimmer's time as head coach.
While the honor was a reflection of the Vikings' skill position talent on offense, their biggest need on that side of the ball was also reflected in the voting. The Vikings were one of 13 teams without an offensive lineman who received a single vote, a year after right tackle Brian O'Neill got one vote.
Former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, now the head coach in Cleveland, oversees an offensive line where four players received votes, and Green Bay had three, including two first-teamers in left tackle David Bakhtiari and center Corey Linsley.
Vikings cut ties with two assistants
The Vikings announced Friday afternoon that former Panthers head coach and longtime NFL defensive coordinator Dom Capers won't be back in 2021, after a one-year stint with the team as a senior defensive assistant.
After Gary Kubiak had helped Kevin Stefanski shape the Vikings' offense as an assistant head coach in 2019, coach Mike Zimmer brought in Capers in a similar capacity, hoping to draw on Capers' years of experience with the blitz-heavy scheme he helped popularize in Pittsburgh. Though the Vikings never elaborated much on Capers' day-to-day role, he seemed to be on staff as a consultant of sorts and a source of ideas on defense. With his one-year contract expiring, though, the Vikings won't bring him back.
The team will also look for a new strength and conditioning coordinator after director of competition development Mark Uyeyama's contract expired. The Vikings announced his deal will not be renewed; he was the team's third strength and conditioning coach under Zimmer, succeeding Evan Marcus and Brent Salazar when he joined the team before the 2017 season.