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Vikings’ Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson named to NFC Pro Bowl team

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Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates after catching a touchdown pass in the third quarter during an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Minneapolis. The Titans defeated the Vikings 31-20. (AP Photo/David Berding)

There won’t be a Pro Bowl played this season because of COVID-19, but that didn’t stop the NFL from naming all-star teams on Monday night. The Vikings placed two players on the NFC roster, with running back Dalvin Cook named a starter and rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson earning a spot as a reserve.

Kansas City, Green Bay, Seattle and Baltimore all had a league-high seven players named to the Pro Bowl.

Cook leads the NFL with 1,833 total yards on 339 touches. That is one behind Derrick Henry’s NFL-leading total. Cook has rushed for 1,484 yards on 297 carries with 15 touchdowns in 13 games. Henry, who plays for the Titans, has a league-leading 1,679 yards and also has 15 rushing TDs in 14 games. Cook, who agreed to a five-year, $63 million extension with the Vikings before the season, has caught 42 passes for 349 yards and a touchdown.

Jefferson, who was drafted 22nd in the first round last April with a pick the Vikings acquired from Buffalo in the Stefon Diggs trade, has 73 receptions for 1,182 yards (leads all rookie receivers) and seven touchdowns in 14 games. He is one of the leading candidates to be named the NFL Rookie of the Year.

Jefferson is the third Vikings’ third wide receiver to be named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, joining Randy Moss (1998) and Sammy White (1976). Jefferson also joins Moss and Amari Cooper (2015) as the only wide receivers in NFL history to be named to a Pro Bowl at the age of 21.

Diggs, who leads the NFL with 111 catches, was named as starting wide receiver for the AFC.

In Sunday’s loss to Chicago, Jefferson established the Vikings franchise rookie receptions record, breaking the mark of 69 held by Moss. Jefferson’s receiving yards have passed Harlon Hill (1,124 in 1954), Bill Brooks (1,131 in 1986), Terry Glenn (1,132 in 1996) and Michael Thomas (1,137 in 2016) for the seventh most by a rookie in NFL history.

This marks the first time since 2014 that the Vikings haven’t had a player from their defense picked for the Pro Bowl. That was Mike Zimmer’s first season as coach. Middle linebacker Eric Kendricks would have been a candidate, but he has missed the past three games because of a calf injury. Safety Harrison Smith’s streak of being on the Pro Bowl roster will end at five years.