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Updated: December 27th, 2011 6:04pm
Jared Allen is lone Vikings player selected to NFC Pro Bowl roster

Jared Allen is lone Vikings player selected to NFC Pro Bowl roster

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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Defensive end Jared Allen has been one of the few bright spots in the Minnesota Vikings' otherwise horrendous season.

Allen, who will enter Sunday's regular-season finale against Chicago with an NFL-leading and career-high 18.5 sacks, was rewarded for his performance Tuesday when it was announced he was the only Vikings player selected to the NFC Pro Bowl roster.

This is the fourth time Allen has been named to the Pro Bowl in his eight-year career and the third time he has earned the honor as a member of the Vikings.

"It feels great," Allen said in comments he made Tuesday evening to the Vikings website. "Obviously, it's a high honor to be even considered a Pro Bowler amongst my peers and to be voted in is just ... on an individual level that's what we play for. To get recognized by your peers. It's a phenomenal honor."

This marks the second consecutive season the Vikings have had only one player named to the Pro Bowl when the roster was initially announced. Last season, running back Adrian Peterson was the lone selection.

Linebacker E.J. Henderson, defensive tackle Kevin Williams and cornerback Antoine Winfield were added to the NFC squad last season for various reasons.

Two years ago the Vikings placed 10 players on the Pro Bowl roster as the team made a run to the NFC title game.

Allen needs four sacks in Sunday's game to tie the NFL single-season record set by Michael Strahan in 2001. The Vikings' single-season sacks record is 21 by Chris Doleman in 1989. Allen's previous career high was 15½ with Kansas City in 2007.

Allen is a half-sack ahead of Philadelphia's Jason Babin and Dallas' DeMarcus Ware in the race to lead the league. Allen has posted three-sack games twice this season and since entering the NFL in 2004 he leads all players with 101.5 sacks.

Allen also leads the NFL with four fumble recoveries. He recorded his fourth career safety this season, tying the league record for most safeties in a career.

"I think my attitude, my approach to the game," Allen said when asked what has worked for him this season. "Trying to go out there and have fun and obviously play as long as I can. ... Just trying to stay focused on the positives in my life instead of the losing seasons."

This is the first time that running back Adrian Peterson has been left out of the Pro Bowl since he entered the NFL in 2007. Peterson tore the anterior cruciate ligament and the medial collateral ligament in his left knee on Saturday at Washington.

He will finish with 970 yards rushing, marking the first time he won't rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season.

The Pro Bowl voting is split into thirds with coaches, players and fans all casting ballots. Each roster has 43 players on it. San Francisco and New England each had eight players earn Pro Bowl honors, tying for the most in the NFL.

The Pro Bowl will be played on Jan. 29 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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