The NFL named its all-decade team Sunday as part of the Pro Bowl celebration and four players with Vikings ties made the 53-man roster.
Current Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams and guard Steve Hutchinson, as well former Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss and safety Darren Sharper, were named to the all-decade team. The 53-man roster was made to resemble a team roster and consists of two quarterbacks, four running backs, one fullback, four wide receivers, two tight ends, four offensive tackles, four guards, two centers, four defensive tackles, four defensive ends, six linebackers, four cornerbacks, four safeties, two kickers, two punters, two kick returners and two punt returners. In addition, two coaches were named – Bill Belichick of the Patriots and Tony Dungy, who was with the Vikings in the 1990s, but with Tampa Bay and Indianapolis in the decade of the 2000s.
Of the 53 players, slightly more than half (27) spent their entire careers with one team. Of that group, Williams was the only Viking on the list that fit that category. The list also included 12 players that participated in Sunday night’s Pro Bowl game.
Brett Favre didn’t make the all-decade team, but it is hard to argue the two QBs picked – Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Moss and Sharper were two of the seven players selected who played for three or more teams. Two players – fullback Lorenzo Neal and wide receiver Terrell Owens – played for four teams during the decade.
With only three years in the league, it wasn’t surprising that Adrian Peterson wasn’t selected. Those honors went to players who were on the field for almost the entire decade – Shaun Alexander, Jamal Lewis, Edgerrin James and LaDainian Tomlinson.
Olin Kreutz beat out former Viking Matt Birk for the all-decade center and was one of four players who had ties to Chicago that made the team, joining OT Orlando Pace, LB Brian Urlacher and PR Devin Hester on the all-decade squad. Two players with ties to the Packers – Sharper and CB Charles Woodson also made the squad. To the surprise of nobody, no Detroit Lions were named.
Three organizations had five players that spent all or parts of their careers with that team make the all-decade team – the Colts, Patriots and Cowboys.
The Vikings had six players that spent all or much of their careers with the team on the all-decade team for the 1990s – Gary Anderson, Cris Carter, Chris Doleman, Randall McDaniel, John Randle and Gary Zimmerman.
Although technically a 53-man roster, only 52 players were selected. Return man Dante Hall was named as both a kickoff returner and punt returner on the all-decade team.
Sunday marked the ninth time an all-decade has been selected. The teams are chosen every 10 years by the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee members.
The Vikings players at the Pro Bowl had a limited impact. Steve Hutchinson played most of the game at guard, as did Jared Allen at defensive end. Allen tied for third on the NFC squad in tackles with four. Heath Farwell had two tackles on special teams, the only player with more than one.
Adrian Peterson didn’t have a big night at the Pro Bowl, but it was clear that the theme of the night was going to be passing. Of the 129 plays run, only 33 of them were rushing plays and, of those, just 11 of the NFC’s plays were runs. The teams combined to throw 91 passes against defenses that weren’t in the mood to get after the quarterback, as both Allen and AFC sack leader Elvis Dumervil passed up chances to put a big hit on the opposing quarterbacks. As a result, the teams combined for a record 848 passing yards. Peterson finished the game with just three carries for 17 yards and one catch for five yards.
How little did the NFC run Sunday night in the Pro Bowl? Quarterback Donovan McNabb rushed four times for 26 yards. The trio of Peterson, DeAngelo Williams and Frank Gore combined to rush just seven times for 27 yards.
Bryant McKinnie continued to get blasted Sunday night. The ESPN announcers discussed his dismissal from the squad twice, adding that several of his teammates were upset about his absence. He not only won’t be paid the loser’s check for the game, but may be subject to a fine for blowing off practices and team meetings without providing a reason.
During the game, ESPN also reported that the Bears will likely name their new offensive coordinator within the next 24 hours. It is expected to come down to Vikings quarterback coach Kevin Rogers and former head coach Mike Martz.