The NFL has announced that the 2021 pro bowl will not be played in Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders. This cancellation comes in response to the COVID pandemic.
The league is partnering with EA Sports and making the Pro Bowl a virtual, week long event with former NFL players, current NFL players, streamers, and celebrities facing off in Madden NFL 21. These events will be featured in “special programming” and air on ESPN and ABC.
Despite the game not happening in real life this season, fans can still vote for their favorite players to be used in the virtual events and have the honor of being called a pro bowler. Go to https://www.nfl.com/pro-bowl/ to vote. The Minnesota Vikings have a few players who have a very good chance of making the cut.
Minnesota’s starting running back, and NFL leader in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and the only non-kicker in the top 20 in scoring, is Minnesota’s strongest candidate. Cook is finally getting the respect he deserves and becoming a household name.
It’s not just his gaudy volume numbers, Cook has the highlight tape to back it up, something that non-Vikings fans will really care about. He’s already ripped off a historic four touchdown performance in Green Bay and followed it up with over 200 rushing yards against the Detroit Lions.
Both those performances earned Cook NFC offensive player of the week honors. Although he didn’t perform as well this week in Chicago, and was held out of the endzone for the first time this season, he still has the stats and has a chance to build on his national recognition in a mid-afternoon matchup against the Dallas Cowboys this week.
Jefferson is the second best bet to win a Pro Bowl spot. Minnesota’s best rookie has made tons of flashy plays and his personality and dance moves are making him an attractive national presence.
So far this season, Jefferson has been better than advertised and stands with only Randy Moss as rookie receivers with four 100 yard receiving games. Jefferson is also leading the league in yards per routes run with a clip of 3.23 yards/route.
Jefferson, like Cook, has a chance to shine against a Cowboys defense that has given up the most points per game in the NFL so far this season. If Jefferson can put up yards on scores the week, the comparisons to a certain Vikings legend will continue.
Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks and Harrison Smith
Thielen is tied for the NFL lead in receiving touchdowns with nine, and added two morning in primetime in Chicago, including an entry for catch of the year. He doesn’t have the yards, he’s 27th in the league in receiving yards, but he has made two Pro Bowls in his career and could be on his way to a third.
Kendricks is somewhat quietly having another excellent season. He’s the heart and soul of a defense that is finally finding their footing. He also made his first Pro Bowl last season, which makes him a lot easier to vote in again.
As for Smith, he’s having the same kind of season he’s had since he entered the league in 2012. He’s got three interceptions, including a big one on Monday night football this week, and his tackle numbers are so far on par with his career averages. He’s also made five straight Pro Bowls.
It would be hard for either of these guys to miss unless the Vikings have another run of games like they had to start the season where the defense as a whole was just awful.