With success come accolades. Without success, the honors tend to dry up. Last year, the Vikings had seven players named to the Pro Bowl – Jared Allen, Jerome Felton, Chad Greenway, Matt Kalil, Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph and Blair Walsh. Peterson and Felton were named starters to the NFC squad.
A year later, the number of Pro Bowlers from the Vikings will be markedly less. In fact, coming off his MVP season, Peterson currently ranks third in the running back voting behind Jamaal Charles and Marshawn Lynch.
Peyton Manning leads the voting with more than 654,000 votes. Others in the top 10 are Drew Brees, Charles, Calvin Johnson, Lynch, Peterson, Jimmy Graham, A.J. Green, LeSean McCoy and Dez Bryant.
In an effort to save the struggling Pro Bowl, which has been criticized for not being competitive and being taken as a joke by some players and simply skipped by others, the league has taken a different approach to the Pro Bowl this season. Referring to the selection process as “unconferenced,” fans, coaches and players will vote in prospective players not based on the standard AFC-NFC format. Players will be selected with no conference affiliation, meaning that the six quarterbacks, etc. that get selected could potentially all be from one conference.
The fan balloting will conclude Dec. 26, prior to the final week of regular-season games. The players will be announced Dec. 27, but won’t know until January which team they’ve been selected to. The week leading up to the Pro Bowl, a draft will be held of the available players to make up the lineups.
The Pro Bowl will be played Jan. 26, 2014.
For a sport that dominates the public interest throughout its season, the Pro Bowl is annually viewed as an anti-climax and an exhibition of offensive prowess, with games pushing 100 points annually. It is hoped that the new format will increase fan interest in the all-star game, despite purists believing the game will become an even bigger joke with the new rules that are being installed.
It seems obvious that Peterson and perhaps a couple of his teammates will end up on the Pro Bowl rosters. What will make it interesting is how long Peterson stays undrafted when the drafting process takes place. Will Peterson finish third in Pro Bowl balloting among running backs, yet be the first one selected in the player draft? Quite possibly. But, for a sport that does so many things right, the latest changes to the Pro Bowl process simply seem like a desperate ploy to ignite interest in a game most fans don’t take the time to watch.
The Vikings had six players who didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice – Erin Henderson (not injury related), Greg Jennings (Achilles), Adrian Peterson (groin), Josh Robinson (chest), Kyle Rudolph (foot) and John Sullivan (concussion).
The Packers had seven players miss practice Wednesday, including Aaron Rodgers, Nick Perry, Casey Hayward, Sam Shields and Johnny Jolly.
The NFL announced its 25 semifinalists for the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. There are no semifinalists that have a long-term Vikings connection, but the list includes coach Tony Dungy, kicker Morten Andersen and running back Roger Craig – all of whom were with the Vikings organization at some point.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.