Lunchbreak: Hunter Leads NFC DEs in Pro Bowl Voting Entering Final Day

Danielle Hunter is in the midst of a career season, and fans around the league have taken notice.

The Vikings defensive end leads all NFC players at his position in Pro Bowl voting entering today, which is the final day that fans can cast a ballot for deserving players. Fans can vote here.

Hunter, a third-round draft pick in 2015, has tied his career high with 12.5 sacks so far this season. The 24-year-old has 38 sacks in his first four seasons with the Vikings, trailing only Jared Allen (62) and Alan Page (39) for the most sacks in his first four seasons in Purple.

If Hunter is voted into the Pro Bowl, he would make his first appearance in the annual game.

A pair of other Vikings rank second in the conference at their positions in Pro Bowl voting.

Wide receiver Adam Thielen trails Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., in votes in the NFC, and safety Harrison Smith is behind Chicago’s Eddie Jackson.

Thielen leads the NFL with 103 receptions, and has 1,236 receiving yards with nine touchdowns. The Minnesota native made his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2017.

Smith is looking for his fourth straight Pro Bowl appearance. The former first-round pick ranks second on the Vikings with 80 total tackles (according to coaches’ tally) and is tied for the team lead with three interceptions. He also has 3.0 sacks, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.

Fullback C.J. Ham ranks fourth among fullbacks, and kicker Dan Bailey has the fifth-most votes among NFC kickers.

Cornerback Xavier Rhodes ranks sixth among NFC cornerbacks in voting. The two-time Pro Bowler has 41 total tackles (according to coaches’ tally) along with an interception and a forced fumble.

Fan voting makes up one-third of the Pro Bowl selection process, with coach voting and player voting capping off the final portions.

Vote here.

CBS Sports has Vikings in 2018 postseason as Wild Card

If the 2018 season ended today, the Vikings would be in the NFC playoff field as a Wild Card team.

And when the season does end after the next three games, that’s where some experts expect Minnesota to end up after the final jockeying for playoff positioning.

John Breech of CBS Sports recently wrote that the 6-6-1 Vikings will get into the playoffs ahead of a trio of other teams battling for the final Wild Card spot in the NFC.

Breech wrote:

The final playoff berth in the NFC seems to be a spot that no one wants to win. In Week 14, there were four teams within one game of this final Wild Card spot and they ALL lost, with the Vikings, Redskins, Eagles and Panthers all going down. All the losing ended up helping the Vikings, and that's because their playoff chances actually went up from 63.2 percent last week to 65.1 percent this week. According to the computer, the only team that really has a shot to steal this final spot rom the Vikings is Philadelphia. SportsLine is giving the Eagles a 16.1 percent chance of making the playoffs.

The Vikings remaining schedule includes home games against Miami and Chicago, plus a road game in Detroit.

Minnesota has a half-game lead in the race for the final Wild Card spot ahead of Carolina, Philadelphia and Washington, all of whom are 6-7.

Minnesota Football Showcase Approaching

The Minnesota Football Showcase will feature the top high school players from around the state facing off in the 46th MFCA High School All-Star Game.

Kickoff is 1 p.m. Saturday.

The game is the keystone of a full day of events at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Madden tournaments and a youth football clinic will be held at 10 a.m.

The Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders will participate in a meet-and-greet from 11 a.m. to noon.

Hall of Famer John Randle is scheduled to sign autographs from 11 a.m. to noon.

Eric Kendricks and Anthony Harris are scheduled to sign from noon until 1 p.m.

Click here to purchase tickets.

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