The fact that Harrison Smith wasn’t voted into the Pro Bowl was one of the most blatant examples of how little credit the Vikings seem to get on a National level (despite apparently being one of the teams with the supposed largest National fan-bases). It also showed, really, how good Smith has been as when you play in the secondary, the less you hear your name during the game on television, the better you are. The same goes for Xavier Rhodes, who did make the Pro Bowl (for the second year in a row), but seemingly disappeared for most of the season (if you watch the games on television) as teams didn’t throw his way very often. While Smith claimed he didn’t care about the Pro Bowl (or individual accomplishments, especially ones he doesn’t plan on being available for as the Pro Bowl takes place the week before the Super Bowl), he did come out the week after the Pro Bowl snub in the game against the Packers and get his name called on television twice… For snagging not one, but two interceptions during that Nationally televised game. As if he was mooning the fans watching TV in the only way he knew how. While he would’ve made it anyway, that game really helped bolster his credentials as he ended up first on the Pro Football Focus All-Pro list earlier this week and, as was just announced, on the NFL’s first-team All-Pro team as well (again, alongside Xavier Rhodes, who seems like an afterthought in this article but like the color men on television, I’m not calling his name, play after play).
This is the first time (for either player) that they’ve ended up on the first team, and again, not to diminish how amazing Rhodes is, but Harrison Smith received a total of 45 out of 50 votes to make the squad, where as Rhodes earned 21 (which is almost as ridiculous as Smith not making the Pro Bowl). To receive that many votes and NOT make the Pro Bowl? Again, I know it doesn’t matter, and that if things go according to plan he wouldn’t be able to play, and that he’ll probably end up voted in when the coaches vote for replacements/back-ups, but that score is essentially the AP Media members saying that Smith is the best safety in the NFL. Perhaps not surprisingly, he also plays on the best defense and perhaps best team in the NFL, as the Vikings also had two players on the second-team in Everson Griffen and Adam Thielen. That was a first for either player, and if you want to get technical, somehow Xavier Rhodes was also on the second team (the jig is up! The reason he can stay so fresh and dominate is that there’s actually two of him! Xavier and Magneto Rhodes, twin brothers from Florida State!).
Other Vikes players received votes from the media members, in linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks as well as punt returner Marcus Sherels (who has yet to return a punt for a touchdown this season, methinks he’s saving all that for the playoffs). That means that five of their eleven starting defenders received votes, and some people question if this is the best defense in the NFL. So, if that’s not the validation you needed to calm your irregularly beating heart, then I don’t know what else will do it (outside of some sort of bathtub liquor). However, at least you can look forward to the stress/entertainment/point free game that is the Pro Bowl, where the second best safety in the league will be on full display.