EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings have a couple of four-timers, a repeat customer and one player set to make his Pro Bowl debut, the NFL and team announced Tuesday night.
The four-timers are safety Harrison Smith and linebacker Anthony Barr. Receiver Adam Thielen has garnered his second selection in a row, and Danielle Hunter has been named to the NFC’s all-star squad for the first time.
Smith is a versatile force, capable of covering passes, blitzing passers and stuffing running backs. He has three interceptions on the year and has tied his career high for sacks in a season with 3.0. Smith ranks second on the Vikings with 82 tackles (team stats), has seven pass breakups, seven tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.
Smith was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 1 after recording seven solo tackles and a game-clinching interception against San Francisco.
Barr asserted his dominance on Sunday against Miami when he recorded the first two of Minnesota’s nine sacks on the day. Opponents often try to scheme their way away from the fifth-year pro or suffer the consequences.
Despite missing three games with a hamstring injury, Barr has 63 tackles (team stats), six tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, two pass breakups and one forced fumble.
Hunter also recorded 2.0 sacks against the Dolphins, bringing his season total to 14.5, which is a career-high for the fourth-year player. Hunter just pushed his career sacks total to 40, breaking Hall of Famer Alan Page’s record for sacks in a Viking’s first four pro seasons.
Hunter ranks fourth on the Vikings with 69 tackles and leads Minnesota with 25 tackles for loss (team stats). He returned a fumble 32 yards for a touchdown and had 3.5 sacks against the Lions on Nov. 4 to win NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Thielen ranks second in the NFL with 105 receptions, eighth with 1,255 receiving yards and tied for seventh with nine touchdown catches. He has nine games with at least 100 receiving yards this season, breaking a Vikings record set by Hall of Famer Randy Moss (eight in 2000 and 2003).
The 2019 Pro Bowl kicks off at 2:00 p.m. CT on Sunday, January 27 and will be televised live on ESPN.