Fan voting for the 2010 Pro Bowl has begun. Over the previous 3 seasons, Vikings fans have helped 9 players earn Pro Bowl honors a combined 17 times. The usual suspects – DE Jared Allen, G Steve Hutchinson, RB Adrian Peterson and DT Kevin Williams – will gain heavy consideration against this year. But there is another Viking who deserves your Pro Bowl vote just as much.
LT Bryant McKinnie, who has yet to earn a Pro Bowl nod during his 8-year Vikings career, is playing well again this season. McKinnie plays a premium position because he is largely responsible for protecting the blindside of QB Brett Favre and because he goes up against the opposing team’s best pass rusher on a weekly basis.
So far this season, McKinnie’s all-star level play has allowed the Vikings to yield successful results on offense. McKinnie has given up just 1 sack so far this season, and Favre is making good use of the time McKinnie has afforded him. Heading into this week’s game against Green Bay, Favre has a 102.2 passer rating and is 6th in the NFL with 12 TD passes.
But McKinnie’s solid play benefits more than just Favre and the passing game. The Vikings have also been able to produce with the ground game behind the blocking of McKinnie and G Steve Hutchinson. When running to the left, the Vikings have averaged 4.79 yards per carry and have totaled 374 yards. On top of that, Peterson ranks 2nd in the NFL in rushing with 687 yards and the Vikings rank tied for 4th in the NFL with 9 rushing TDs.
In retrospect, one can argue McKinnie should’ve already earned a Pro Bowl berth. He’s blocked for 4 of the top 6 single-season rushers in team history as well as 3 Vikings teams that have ranked in the top 5 offensively. He’s also been durable, starting 109 straight games since entering the NFL as the #7 overall pick in 2002.
As you can see, McKinnie’s past performance has been outstanding for the Vikings. But his play this season has been as good as any other time in his career. And for that, he is deserving of a vote on your Pro Bowl ballot.
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