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Lunchbreak: Carr Projects 3 on Vikings Offense for 2021 Pro Bowl Roster

Voting for the 2021 Pro Bowl ends Thursday, and there is still time to cast your ballot for multiple deserving Vikings.

The teams for the annual all-star game — which will be held virtually this year — will be announced on Monday, but analyst David Carr recently produced his list of offensive players he thinks are deserving in each conference.

Carr tabbed a trio of Vikings on his NFC offensive roster, as he highlighted the standout play of running back Dalvin Cook, fullback C.J. Ham and rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

Carr began with Cook, who was a selection on his team along with Alvin Kamara of the Saints and Ronald Jones II of the Buccaneers.

Carr wrote:

Where are the Vikings without Dalvin Cook? Everything Gary Kubiak does on offense goes through him — play action, bootlegs, Kirk Cousins ... [they could all struggle] without one of the NFL's most dynamic players. Not to mention, Cook is tied with [Derrick] Henry with a league-leading 14 rushing touchdowns.

Cook, who has recorded seven 100-yard rushing games this season, ranks second in the league with a career-best 1,352 rushing yards.

The running back was a first-time Pro Bowler in 2019, as was Ham, whom Carr projected to make it for the second straight season.


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Carr wrote:

The NFC representative was between C.J. Ham and San Francisco's Kyle Juszczyk, and I ultimately went with the Viking. Ham has been an integral part of Gary Kubiak's scheme as one of only three fullbacks in the league to play at least 300 offensive snaps this season. He's excelled as a lead blocker for Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison in the Vikings' sixth-ranked run game and has earned a 71.0 grade in pass protection from Pro Football Focus.

Ham's unselfish play is a key reason why Minnesota ranks sixth in the NFL at 146.9 rushing yards per game.

Jefferson was one of four NFC receivers on Carr's list, along with Green Bay's Davante Adams, Seattle's DK Metcalf and Atlanta's Calvin Ridley.

He wrote:

Minnesota's Justin Jefferson is making a real push for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, racking up 1,078 receiving yards through 13 games — leading all 2020 rookies and ranking fourth among all players in their first 13 games since the 1970 merger.

Jefferson leads the Vikings in receptions (65) and yards (1,078). He has joined Randy Moss as the only two Vikings wide receivers to hit the 1,000-yard mark as rookies. Jefferson's seven touchdowns include a pair of multi-score games as a rookie. The 21-year-old has broken Moss' rookie record with five 100-yard games so far this season.

Craig: Vikings-Bears offers rare playoff intrigue

Sunday's game between the Vikings and Bears has extra meaning, as both teams are 6-7 and still hoping for a playoff berth.

Mark Craig of the Star Tribune recently wrote that although this is another late-season meeting between the teams — this is the fifth straight season that Minnesota will host Chicago in its regular-season home finale — the Week 15 matchup is one of the few matchups between the rivals with playoff intrigue.

Craig noted that while the Vikings and Bears have met a ton in the final few weeks of each season, only two previous games have been played when both teams have still been alive for the postseason.

He wrote:

In 2007, the Vikings were 7-6. The Bears were 5-8 and mathematically alive until the Vikings won 20-13.

In 2015, the Vikings were 8-5 and driving toward Mike Zimmer's first NFC North championship. The Bears again were 5-8 and barely alive until the Vikings snuffed them out 38-17.

Now comes Sunday. The Vikings and Bears hold the NFC's eighth and ninth seeds, respectively, and are chasing the Cardinals (7-6). The Vikings won the first meeting 19-13 at Soldier Field.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Bears.

The Vikings are 2-2 in the past four home regular-season finales against the Bears.

But with so many twists and turns for both teams in 2020, Craig wrote that he isn't sure what to expect Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

He wrote:

Good luck predicting Sunday's winner. The Vikings and Bears have spent this season going in opposite directions and then reversing course.

The Bears started 5-1. The Vikings started 1-5. The Bears lost six straight. The Vikings went 5-1.

Kickoff is Sunday at noon (CT). Chris Myers, Jen Hale, Greg Jennings and Brock Huard will be calling the game on FOX.