On Thursday, that number doubled, as defensive end Everson Griffen was named as an injury replacement to the Pro Bowl.
Griffen will replace Houston’s J.J. Watt, who had surgery to repair an injured groin muscle this week and will miss the game.
Griffen led the Vikings with 10½ sacks in 15 games, including two critical sacks in the Vikings’ Week 17 win over Green Bay that won the NFC North title for the Vikings. He finished the season with 44 tackles, 30 quarterback hurries, 14 tackles-for-loss and one forced fumble, which happened in Week 17 and was returned for a touchdown by cornerback Captain Munnerlyn.
It will be the first Pro Bowl nod for Griffen, who is in his sixth season and his second as a starter. In his two seasons as a full-time player, Griffen has recorded 22½ sacks and has become a leader of the defense.
Griffen becomes the fifth Vikings defensive end named to the Pro Bowl, joining Chris Doleman and Carl Eller – both of whom were named to the Pro Bowl six times – Jared Allen, who was named four times, and Jim Marshall, who was selected to the team twice.
With more players expected to bow out of the Pro Bowl due either injury or their team advancing to the Super Bowl, perhaps more Vikings will make the Pro Bowl roster, but for now the number is up to two.