EAGAN, Minn. – A pair of Vikings teammates have been named to the 2021 Pro Bowl.
Running back Dalvin Cook and rookie receiver Justin Jefferson were selected to the all-star game, the NFL announced Monday.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no physical game or in-person festivities this year, but the recognition from peers and fans, however, remains relevant.
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It's no surprise that Cook ran away with fan voting.
Cook was the NFC's second-highest vote-getter with 299,673. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was the only one in the conference who earned more votes (335,156). The next-closest behind Cook was Seahawks WR DK Metcalf with 271,568.
Cook also was highly lauded by his peers across the league, who have helped the running back receive his second career Pro Bowl nod.
He participated in his first all-star game in January after an impressive 2019 campaign. And although the Vikings have enjoyed less team success this year, Cook has once again struck fear into the hearts of defenders while putting together his strongest campaign so far.
Through 13 games, Cook has racked up 297 carries for 1,484 yards and 15 touchdowns – all career highs. He's also added 42 catches for 349 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Despite Minnesota's struggles throughout a season drastically altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cook has helped the Vikings offense rank fifth in total yards per game (387.1) and rushing yards per game (147.7) and fourth in rushing yards per play (4.92).
"Dalvin is a huge part of this football team. It's just been fun for me to be around him," Vikings Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak said recently. "I've been fortunate to be around some really good ones along the way. It's fun for me to watch this guy work and get ready to play. He's special."
Jefferson Recognized for Elite Debut
Jefferson is the fourth Vikings rookie wide receiver to be named to the Pro Bowl, following the likes of Sammy White (1976), Randy Moss (1998) and Percy Harvin (2009). Those three players also won Offensive Rookie of the Year, an award Jefferson could soon capture, too.
But the former LSU standout is a Pro Bowler in his first season after being the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Jefferson leads the Vikings with 73 catches, which is also a Vikings rookie record. Additionally, he has 1,182 receiving yards, joining Moss (1,313) as the only two players to break the 1,000-yard mark as rookies in Vikings history.
The 21-year-old leads all rookie wide receivers in receptions and yards and is second in touchdown catches with seven.
Jefferson joined the Vikings after a stellar career at LSU and has produced six 100-yard performances in 2020. That is also a Vikings rookie record.
"One of the things that really stands out to me is when Justin came out, I think he had 100-plus catches his last year [at LSU], and like 90 of them or something were in the slot. They were inside," Kubiak said. "So there was a lot of chatter that he was an inside, slot receiver and man, I kept looking at him athletically and his length and those type of things … I think the biggest thing is the fact he's been able to play all over the place.
"He's made as many catches outside as he has inside … but I just think his overall game is what's been really impressive. To move around on the field, go outside, have to get physical with corners, come inside and work against nickels – those types of things," Kubiak added. "I think that's been probably the thing that happened maybe a lot quicker than we thought it would. You've got to give him the credit with that."
View photos of Vikings RB Dalvin Cook and WR Justin Jefferson who were announced to the 2021 Pro Bowl roster.