Vikings Barely Considered in Latest Round of Accolades

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Just a year ago, Minnesota sent a large group to the Pro Bowl games. Seven players, to be exact. This year, only pass-rusher Danielle Hunter and long-snapper Andrew DePaola were nominated for the honors, although some guys could join them via replacements for injured players and those who participate in the Super Bowl.

Vikings Barely Considered in Latest Round of Accolades

Vikings Barely Considered in Latest Round of Accolades
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The All-Pro teams tell a similar story, perhaps even more severe, and it is obvious why. Kevin O’Connell’s Minnesota Vikings have failed to win enough games to highlight the player’s personal heroics. Falling from 13 wins to only seven results in snubs all over the place despite some athletes having excellent seasons.

In this year’s All-Pro cycle, not a single Viking made the list. Justin Jefferson and DePaola were named a year ago. The latter made the second team in 2023 and is the only Minnesotan to be considered for either team.

But not only the record but also the injuries have been a large problem for the Vikings players and explain the low numbers of nominees.

Opponents in 2024
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Jefferson was on pace to defend his receiving title in his fourth season, but his hamstring injury kept him sidelined for seven games, and he missed parts of two more. Despite that, he eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards–more than some players who received votes. Barring injuries, Jefferson will be a perennial candidate for the team. He has been named second-team All-Pro twice and first-team following his league-leading 2022 campaign.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins has never received recognition for any awards and All-Pro teams, but he is a four-time Pro Bowler playing the best football of his career in 2023, on pace to shatter various career-best marks. It is a total what-if, but this might have been his chance.

Outside of injuries, which Vikings should’ve deserved a crack? The obvious answer is Danielle Hunter, the fantastic pass-rusher. Hunter recorded 16.5 sacks in 2023, a career-high, ranking him fifth in the league, as well as a league-leading 23 tackles for loss. The veteran continues to shine in both the passing and rushing games. It should be noted that the four guys ahead of him are also elite players in the NFL.

How Far Can Danielle
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning (6) is sacked hard by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) in the second quarter of the NFL Week 15 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings at PayCor Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023. © Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK.

His contract status will be interesting to monitor in the offseason, as he is scheduled to hit free agency in March. However, the Vikings would be foolish to let a player of his caliber walk and are urged to keep him on the roster. Both parties have stated that they would like to continue their employment.

Safety Josh Metellus might have been another interesting candidate, but unfortunately, there isn’t a position called Swiss Army knife because the fourth-year player is certainly one of the top players at that. He received one second-place vote, just like teammates Camryn Bynum and Ivan Pace.

2 Vikings Snubbed
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Brian O’Neill and Christian Darrisaw keep playing at a high level, solidifying the offensive line from the outside, keeping QBs clean, and opening running lanes. Neither received first-place votes, but they were nominated a combined seven (of 50) times for second place.

Tight end T.J. Hockenson was the only player with first-place votes (3) besides DePaola (8). Despite his injury that forced him to miss the final two games, he has produced the statistics to make a team and has had a huge impact on the field. Hockenson will try to recover in time for the 2024 season.

Rookies Jordan Addison and Pace have decent chances to land a spot in the All-rookie team.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt