This season's class of Pro Bowlers will soon be announced, and top players from across the league will be named to AFC and NFC rosters.
But former NFL QB David Carr, now an analyst for NFL.com, again this year released his "offensive super team" and used the entire league of players to choose his Offensive Pro Bowl Team.
Carr tabbed two running backs: Vikings standout Dalvin Cook and Carolina's Christian McCaffrey. Carr wrote:
Like McCaffrey, Cook can do it all. He can run inside or outside the tackles, catch the ball out of the backfield in the screen game or line up on the perimeter. The third-year pro is a one-cut runner who hits full speed through the hole and has home-run ability from anywhere on the field. He's in a system that showcases his versatility and provides him with bountiful opportunities – evidenced by his 1,611 scrimmage yards (second in the NFL) in 13 games.
He also included 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk.
At receiver, this Vikings.com writer would argue that Carr overlooked Stefon Diggs, who is just 3 yards from hitting 1,000 for the second consecutive season.
Carr chose the following trio instead: Michael Thomas (Saints), Kenny Golladay (Lions) and Chris Godwin (Buccaneers). He added a fourth spot specifically for slot receiver, where he highlighted longtime Patriots playmaker Julian Edelman.
Carr's remaining roster is below:
Tight end: Travis Kelce (Chiefs), George Kittle (49ers)
Tackle: Ronnie Stanley (Ravens), Ryan Ramczyk (Saints)
Guard: Marshal Yanda (Ravens), Zack Martin (Cowboys)
Center: J.C. Tretter (Browns)
View exclusive images shot by Vikings team photographer Andy Kenutis as the Vikings and Lions competed against each other on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Vikings listed at No. 2 in CBS Sports Wild Card rankings
It's crunch time, people.
The Vikings will travel to Los Angeles this weekend for their final road game of the year before returning home for back-to-back divisional matchups.
Patrik Walker of CBS Sports recently ranked NFC Wild Card chances "for teams still in the NFL playoff hunt." He wrote:
The beauty of professional football is while there are seemingly always the usual suspects making noise in each conference, there's also the chance one or two teams will barrel through low expectations to put everyone on notice. This season has been no different when it comes to the NFC, where the San Francisco 49ers went from a supposed rebuild to a powerhouse in short order and have created havoc atop the conference the entire season.
As they continue to exchange blows with the Seattle Seahawks for divisional supremacy and the New Orleans Saints to remain in the driver's seat for home-field advantage, the Green Bay Packers would now like a word – having ascended to the No. 2 seat following the 49ers harrowing 48-46 victory over the Saints in Week 14. It's an all-out brawl between those four teams, and the Minnesota Vikings aren't far behind, currently in a Wild Card spot but within striking distance of every team above them.
Walker ranked the Seahawks at No. 1 in the Wild Card race, projecting them as the No. 5 seed, and the Vikings at No. 2 with a projection for the No. 6 seed.
The added question for Seattle (and the 49ers) is simple: whoever lands in the Wild Card, will they be the No. 5 or No. 6 seed? The Vikings have played so well this season they have a great chance to reach up and grab the lead in the NFC North and leave talk of a Wild Card berth behind altogether. … The loss [at Seattle] cost them a tiebreaker and put them 1.5 games back of the Packers – having also lost to Green Bay in Week 2 – and Minnesota now needs a collapse by Green Bay and a surge of [its] own to win the division. It's now more likely they secure a [Wild Card] spot instead of the NFC North crown, and downing the Lions in Week 14 helps that cause.
Walker predicted that the Rams (8-5), Eagles (6-7) and Bears (7-6), ranked in that order, will miss the postseason cut.
Cronin evaluates MVP race down the stretch
As ESPN's Courtney Cronin said, "the NFL's MVP race is in a full-on sprint toward the finish line" as teams head into the final stretch of the regular season.
Players have put up numbers to throw their hat into the ring throughout the year, and names that have come up in conversation have included Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Dalvin Cook.
Cronin recently evaluated the MVP race and believes that five players – Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes and Michael Thomas – are front-runners for the honor.
She opined that Cousins "just missed" the cut but spoke highly of his second season in Purple. Cronin wrote:
Even though Minnesota built its offense around running back Dalvin Cook, Cousins has broken out of game manager territory behind an oft-explosive passing attack that has him on pace to record yet another 4,000-yard, 25-TD season. The tides have shifted in Minnesota, and Cousins is a major reason why the Vikings can confidently boast their identity as an offensive team.
Cronin also pointed out that he ranks fourth in completion percentage, fifth in passing touchdowns and fourth in touchdown-to-interception ratio.