I can’t believe that we are this far away from the annual snooze fest that is the NFL’s Pro Bowl and that we already have four fun storylines to chat about. The Vikings have four Pro Bowl players (at least) and each is in a unique situation.
Everyone’s favorite running back, Adrian Peterson, has been selected to his fifth Pro Bowl and gives us all a reason to watch. Despite the risks associated with Peterson doing anything other than spending the offseason in a deep freeze like Han Solo, Peterson always plays at a high level in the annual skirmish.
This year, almost certainly to the dismay of any AFC defenders, Peterson vows to do now different.
“I’m going to play hard,” warned Peterson. “It is hard for me to play down because when you play down, you put yourself in jeopardy of getting hurt going through the motions. So I won’t be playing down.”
With how Peterson has played this season, coupled with the lackadaisical nature of this game, would anyone be surprised to see Peterson break 300 yards? 400?
Peterson plans on having his abdomen, which had been bugging him near the end of this season, examined a little closer following the Pro Bowl.
Some would argue that Jared Allen, who has been plagued by injury more than ever, was really only voted into the Pro Bowl based off of his name value and not his 2012 production. That might be partially true, but he still played pretty darn good football this season.
Allen, who played with a torn labrum this season, plans to wait until after the Pro Bowl to have surgery on it, which will be the first surgery he has had during his football career. Allen related making the Pro Bowl and not going to going to an ice cream shop and not getting to try any.
“I played the whole year,” he said. “I’m going to enjoy the Pro Bowl. I figure I’ll at least get some warm weather and a pseudo-free vacation.”
Unlike Peterson, however, Allen has said that going full speed at the Pro Bowl and risking an injury that could cost him millions is not worth it. He said he will play down. He also noted that he once played against Peterson in the Pro Bowl and knows the guy is incapable of performing at any lower level of play.
Rookie kicker Blair Walsh, also known as the best kicker in the NFL, also plans on making his first trip to the Pro Bowl after being elected to the honor.
What is more, Walsh is planning on paying all the costs for long snapper Cullen Loeffler to go with him and hopes to get him on the Pro Bowl roster.
“He obviously came through and he’s like, ‘Yeah, definitely. I’m appreciative for everything that you’ve done,'” Loeffler said of Walsh. “He’s just been a great guy.”
In addition to making a trip to Hawaii, Jerome Felton’s offseason will consist of contract negotiations, and it sounds like he wants to remain a Viking. After helping Adrian Peterson to a 2,000 yard season, it sounds like the Vikings want him back to.
“Obviously you never know how it’s going to turn out. I know it’s a business and all that,” Felton said of being a pending free agent. “I feel good about being here, so I hope that they get something done before that. That’s my goal.
With so many executives, scouts, coaches, agents and players in Hawaii at once, it might just present the perfect opportunity to get those talks rolling.