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Lunchbreak: Believes Nwangwu Among Pro Bowl Snubs

The full Pro Bowl rosters for the AFC and NFC were revealed Wednesday night, as 44 players represent each conference on the initial roster.

The Vikings had three players — Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook and Harrison Smith — that were announced as Pro Bowl selections before Minnesota's win on Monday Night Football.

But Nick Shook of believes there was a glaring omission for the Vikings on the NFC squad.

Shook released his list of Pro Bowls snubs on Wednesday night and included rookie Kene Nwangwu, who missed out on being picked as the conference's return specialist.

Shook made his case for Nwangwu:

The Bears Jakeem Grant earned the Pro Bowl nod for NFC returner, a product of two key factors: He has one return touchdown (scored on national TV, on a punt by the Packers) and he has a reputation as an explosive returner. Votes at positions like this one in the Pro Bowl (and other pro sports leagues' all-star games) can come down to name recognition, and Grant certainly carries that.

But if you've paid attention to the return game this season, you know the more deserving candidate is Nwangwu, a rookie running back who has proven to be a potent weapon as a returner. Vikings fans are quickly falling for Nwangwu, who has taken two kicks back for touchdowns and done them the hard way, covering 98 and 99 yards. And get this: He's only returned 12 kicks all year.

That means Nwangwu is taking a kick back for a touchdown at a rate of 16.7 percent, while he's averaging 37.2 yards per kick return. Grant is averaging 24.2 yards per kick return and 12.8 per punt return since being traded from Miami to Chicago in October. I think my work here is done.

Shook makes a compelling case for Nwangwu, who is the league's only player with two kickoff returns for touchdowns in 2021.

Nwangwu is also one of three Vikings with multiple kickoff returns for scores in a single season, joining Percy Harvin and Cordarrelle Patterson.

The latter, who now plays for the Falcons, was also included on Shook's list of snubs. Others also listed included Matthew Stafford, Derrick Henry and Joe Burrow.

The Cowboys, Buccaneers and 49ers led all NFC teams with five players selected to the Pro Bowl. The Saints and Cardinals had four players apiece, while the Vikings and Packers each had three players selected.

Vikings-Rams among 4 games between current playoff teams

Week 16 of the NFL season kicks off tonight, as the Titans host the 49ers on Thursday Night Football.

That matchup is one of four games on the Week 16 slate that features current playoff teams, as the others are the Colts at Cardinals, the Bills at Patriots … and the Rams at Vikings.

Sunday's game between Minnesota and Los Angeles is the only one of those between NFC teams, with both the Vikings (7-7) and Rams (10-4) currently in Wild Card spots with three games to go.

The Athletic offered a quick preview of the game, noting that the Vikings defense is coming off perhaps its best outing of the season against the Bears with just nine points allowed.

It's also not hard for an opposing defense to star against Chicago, but Minnesota's was pretty good last week. It forced three turnovers and held the Bears to 2-of-12 on third down and 1-of-5 in the red zone. The Vikings are much better at home and now get to close the season with two of their final three games in Minneapolis.

The Rams offense ranks fifth in the NFL with 27.6 points per game and sixth with 380.8 yards per game.