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Lunchbreak: Griffen, Joseph Make Brandt's Pro Bowl Squad

Today marks the final day of online fan voting for the Pro Bowl. Fans can go here to help their favorite Vikings players make it to Orlando.

While the final Pro Bowl team has yet to be announced, Gil Brandt of NFL.com got a head start on the fun and offered up his predictions.

Brandt revealed his own Pro Bowl team Thursday morning and included a pair of Vikings defensive linemen in Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph.

Griffen, who has a career-high 13 sacks this season, has 42 total tackles (according to coaches' tally) with a team-high 16 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles from his defensive end spot.

Brandt wrote: 

Since becoming a full-time starter in 2014, Griffen has compiled 43.5 sacks (including 13 in 2017), tied for second-most in the NFL in that span. He's one of the main drivers behind the success of this Vikings defense, which ranks third overall and fifth against the pass.

Joseph has been a key piece for Minnesota at defensive tackle. He has 77 total tackles (according to coaches' tally) with six tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.

Brandt wrote:

Griffen and Joseph have teamed up to help the Vikings rank in the top five in the NFL in points, total yards, rushing yards and passing yards allowed per game. 

Both players were selected to the Pro Bowl last year. It was Griffen's consecutive selection and the first for Joseph.

Keenum's mobility helping Vikings offense thrive

Case Keenum has gone 8-3 when starting for the Vikings this season, using every tool in his bag to help Minnesota be in position to clinch the division with a win this weekend against the Bengals.

But one skill Keenum has shown more often than not is his ability to escape the rush and evade defenders. 

Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune recently pointed out a stat that showed just how effective Keenum has been on the move this season. 

Goessling wrote:

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Case Keenum has the NFL's highest passer rating on throws outside the pocket this season, checking in with a rating of 120.6. He's ahead of Carson Wentz — who might have been a NFL MVP favorite before tearing his ACL on Sunday — as well as past MVPs Matt Ryan and Tom Brady. **

Some of those throws have come on designed plays to get Keenum outside the pocket, or on plays where the quarterback can break outside to buy himself time for receivers to get open. Others, however, have come on plays where Keenum has been flushed from the pocket, like on Sunday, when he stepped up and to his left on 3rd-and-11 to find Adam Thielen for a 12-yard gain. Perhaps Keenum's best play of the day came in the second quarter on Sunday, when he managed to duck under a corner blitz from the 5- foot-9 Captain Munnerlyn, escape to his right and find Kyle Rudolph for a 13-yard gain. **

Keenum has thrown for 2,983 yards with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. He has six games this season with a passer rating of 100 or above.

Things will be easier for the Vikings the sooner they get their offensive line healthy, but they always can use rolling pockets to help counteract pass rushes behind a makeshift line. Keenum's mobility provides another tool at offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur's disposal. And as ESPN pointed out on Tuesday, nobody has been more effective when they've broken the pocket than Keenum has this season.

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