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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Six Vikings players make the cut on Pro Football Focus’ Pro Bowl rosters

By Derek Wetmore

Say what you will about the website Pro Football Focus, the analysts watch the game closely.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has gone out of his way to mock the website for its handing out of grades to players based on film study, since the analysts can only guess at what a particular player’s assignment was on a given play.

That’s true, but it could also be argued that the educated guesses at that website serve as a better barometer than worldwide fan perceptions when it comes to determining the players who are performing the very best over the course of a season. And sports leagues have no problem letting fan voting determine things like this, since it’s good for exposure and, by extension, the bottom line.

And so with the grain of salt that these rosters don’t amount to anything other than one website’s well-informed opinion, we share the PFF team’s Pro Bowl roster, which includes six Vikings players.

Here’s each Minnesota player that made the cut over at PFF:

Running Back: Adrian Peterson (backup). As the centerpiece of the Vikings’ offense, his rushing numbers speak for themselves. But Peterson has shown his old tendency to put the ball on the ground, and until this week, he’s been a relative non-factor on third down in Minnesota’s offense. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s more involved in the passing game the rest of the way, but one thing’s for certain: Peterson has shown beyond a doubt that he’s still got it at age 30.

Center: Joe Berger. Filling in for the injured John Sullivan, Berger has helped stabilize one of the most questionable offensive lines in the league. The line still hasn’t always performed well, but considering what a significant blow it was to lose Sullivan, the fact that Berger has earned the highest PFF grade at his position is admirable.

Defensive tackle: Linval Joseph (backup). A foot injury has kept Joseph off the field recently but the big man in the middle could be close to returning to game action, as Joseph was back at practice Thursday. He doesn’t always get the credit he deserves because his job can often be thankless — occupy blockers and stop run plays up the middle. Joseph’s pro-bowl level performance, however, has a trickle-down effect throughout Zimmer’s defense, and they’ll likely get a boost when the run-stopping nose tackle, the straw that stirs the drink, returns to the middle of the defensive line.

Outside linebacker: Anthony Barr (backup). After his first year was derailed due to injury, Barr has come back in Year 2 as a force. He’s already the best linebacker the Vikings have, and he’s played well despite playing through a broken hand for a few games. Barr is looking like a great pick from the 2014 draft, where he was selected 23 spots before quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Free safety: Harrison Smith. Smith’s injury (hamstring/knee) has forced him from the field and tested the Vikings’ safety depth. When he’s in there, he’s a versatile weapon in Mike Zimmer’s defense, and he’s laid some devastating (legal) hits on opponents this year.

Returners: Cordarrelle Patterson. While he’s virtually disappeared from offensive duty, Patterson did return a kick against the Seattle Seahawks that broke up the shutout. He’s an enigma at times, and the Vikings may never recoup the full value of the package they sent to the Patriots in the trade that led to Patterson putting on purple, but his explosiveness and vision in the return game still make opponents pay attention when No. 84 is deep to return a kick.

The post Six Vikings players make the cut on Pro Football Focus’ Pro Bowl rosters appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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