Fan voting for the Pro Bowl ends today, teams are scheduled to make their votes this week, and the players are due to be announced Monday.
There won't be a game this year, but it will still be an honor to make the all-star roster.
Analytics site Pro Football Focus on Wednesday rolled out its Pro Bowl picks for each conference, and four Minnesota players were highlighted in the NFC.
At running back, PFF's Sam Monson highlighted Minnesota's Dalvin Cook, New Orleans' Alvin Kamara and Chicago's David Montgomery, whom the Vikings will face at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday. Monson wrote:
Cook has racked up almost 1,000 rushing yards after contact this season, trailing only Derrick Henry, while Kamara was the entirety of the New Orleans offense for much of the season before taking more of a back seat with Taysom Hill at quarterback. Montgomery trails only Henry and Cook in broken tackles (43).
Monson gave two of the four wide receiver spots to Vikings: Adam Thielen and rookie phenom Justin Jefferson. Together, the teammates account for 1,838 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns for Minnesota.
Thielen and Jefferson were joined by Green Bay's Davante Adams and Arizona's DeAndre Hopkins, who joined the Cardinals via trade last offseason after seven seasons in Houston.
View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of January 4, 2021.
Adams leads the league in yards per route run (3.03) and has been the best receiver in the league this season. The Vikings duo of Jefferson and Thielen has been incredibly productive, with Jefferson racking up the yards and Thielen coming down with the spectacular touchdown catches.
DeAndre Hopkins moved conferences but remains one of the game's best. He has dropped just one of the 95 catchable passes thrown his way this season.
Jump over to defense, and Monson selected linebacker Eric Kendricks along with Seattle's Bobby Wagner and San Francisco's Fred Warner. Kendricks has missed the past two games due to a calf injury, but he remains the Vikings leading tackler with 107 (league stats) and tied with Eric Wilson for the most interceptions by a linebacker (three each) in 2020.
Wagner continues to do incredible work even as the rest of the Seattle defense disintegrates around him. He has 20 total pressures on the blitz, six total pass breakups and a PFF run-defense grade of 90.4.
Eric Kendricks has backed up last season's excellent work with another strong showing for Minnesota and has a PFF coverage grade of 90.7. Fred Warner is right behind him (87.8) and has allowed a passer rating of only 76.8 when targeted.
Cook named NFL's No. 2 RB by Maurice Jones-Drew
Heading into Week 15's slate of games, running back-turned-NFL.com analyst Maurice Jones-Drew released his weekly running back rankings.
Jones-Drew topped his list with Henry, who currently leads the NFL in rushing with 1,532 yards on 297 carries.
Slated in the No. 2 spot was Cook, who trails Henry in yards by 180. The two are tied for the NFL lead with 14 touchdowns apiece. Jones-Drew wrote:
It's certainly hard to look past Dan Bailey's four missed kicks (three field-goal tries and one extra point) [against Tampa Bay], but the only Viking that truly matters in this exercise is Dalvin Cook. Tied with Henry for the most rushing TDs this season, Cook ran all over the Bucs top-ranked run defense for 102 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. The Vikings played well enough to win this game behind Cook's performance.
Ranked behind Cook this week were Nick Chubb (Browns), Kamara (Saints), James Robinson (Jaguars), Ronald Jones II (Buccaneers), Aaron Jones (Packers), Kareem Hunt (Browns), Montgomery (Bears) and Josh Jacobs (Raiders).
ESPN tackles 'biggest injury Qs' ahead of Week 15
To quote Kevin McCallister, "This is it; don't get scared now."
Only three weeks remain in the 2020 regular-season schedule, and it's come down to the wire for several teams, including Minnesota. The Vikings (6-7) will meet the division-rival Bears (6-7) on Sunday for what essentially is a non-official elimination game.
Minnesota's first injury report of the week came out Wednesday, and five Vikings – Kendricks, Kyle Rudolph, C.J. Ham, Alexander Mattison and Armon Watts – were all sidelined.
ESPN asked its beat reporters to tab the “biggest injury question” that faces their respective teams headed into Week 15. And although Kendricks is certainly a concern after missing back-to-back contests, ESPN's Courtney Cronin pointed instead to the Vikings blocking game against a talented Bears defense. Cronin wrote:
Eric Kendricks (calf), Kyle Rudolph (foot) and Alexander Mattison (appendectomy) missed their fourth straight practice on Wednesday as the Vikings begin preparation for the [Bears]. Even though Rudolph's 93-regular season game active streak was put to a halt last week, Minnesota got solid production out of its remaining tight ends. Blocking could be an issue against the Bears defense if Rudolph remains sidelined against Chicago given fullback C.J. Ham (quad) was also DNP on Wednesday.
Also worth noting is Chicago's most pressing injury question, tackled by ESPN's Jeff Dickerson.
The Bears defensive backfield is in the spotlight after first-year starting cornerback Jaylon Johnson sustained a shoulder injury in last week's victory over the Houston Texans. Johnson – drafted in the second round out of Utah – has been one of the league's top rookies with 15 pass breakups, tied for 4th best in the NFL. Johnson, officially listed as day-to-day, underwent multiple shoulder procedures in college – a reason many believe he fell to the Bears at pick No. 50. Starting nickel back Buster Skrine also remains in the league's concussion protocol, per [Head Coach] Matt Nagy. Skrine was inactive Week 14.
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