4 Vikings Pro Bowlers: Peterson, Allen, Walsh, FeltonPublished 10:28am Thursday, December 27, 2012
By St. Paul Pioneer Press
The Vikings had four players selected to the NFC Pro Bowl team on Wednesday, Dec. 26: their MVP-caliber running back, his backfield escort, their sack leader and their rookie kicker.
Adrian Peterson, Jerome Felton, Jared Allen and Blair Walsh were named to the team during a NFL Network broadcast. That’s twice as many players as the Vikings had named to the team last year. And the Vikings’ two first-timers — Felton and Walsh — probably weren’t on many radars at the beginning of the season.
Felton, who signed with the Vikings before the season and was arrested for drunken driving over the summer, avoided NFL discipline and became a key cog in the Vikings’ rushing attack. He has been on the field for at least 40 percent of the Vikings’ offensive snaps in six of their nine wins, and coach Leslie Frazier said again Monday what an important signing Felton was for the team.
“I’m so excited, thankful and humbled to be voted into the Pro Bowl by my peers and coaches!!” Felton tweeted Wednesday. “This means more than I can explain, and I want to thank all the fans for the support, my family, all my teammates, and most of all, God!! This season has been so special and we will try to continue it Sunday!!!”
Peterson’s fifth Pro Bowl selection might also have been the most obvious of his career; he leads the league with 1,898 rushing yards and needs 208 on Sunday to break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record.
Walsh, who set a NFL record with his ninth field goal from more than 50 yards on Sunday, got the nod after former Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell campaigned for the rookie on his Twitter account on Sunday.
“That’s one of the most humbling things I’ve ever had said about me, from anybody,” Walsh said.
Allen, who was named to his fifth Pro Bowl, has half as many sacks he had in 2011, when he chased Michael Strahan’s single-season record. But his 11 sacks still lead the team.
Several Vikings players who looked like Pro Bowl candidates were not named to the team, such as linebacker Chad Greenway, cornerback Antoine Winfield, center John Sullivan and offensive tackle Matt Kalil. Sullivan was left off the roster, while veteran Jeff Saturday — who was benched by the Packers last week — made the NFC squad in his first season with Green Bay.
“It’s unfortunate,’ Peterson said in a NFL Network interview about no Vikings offensive lineman making the team. “They’re all Pro Bowlers to me. Those guys helped me get where I am this season.”