When it came to naming ESPN’s NFC North All-Decade team, few players were more of a shoo-in than former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
Peterson is the only non-quarterback player to win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award after he rushed for 2,097 yards in the 2012 regular season.
ESPN’s Courtney Cronin broke down Peterson’s selection the team along:
“This was about as unanimous a decision as there is. Peterson was the only non-quarterback to win the NFL MVP award during the past decade and holds countless titles and awards from his time with the Vikings. He was the league’s offensive player of the year (2012), a two-time first-team All-Pro selection (2012, 2015), went to the Pro Bowl four times and led the NFL in rushing in 2012 with 2,097 yards and again in 2015. Peterson ended his time in Minnesota as the franchise’s all-time rushing leader and will go down as one of the best running backs in NFL history.”
Former Vikings wide receiver and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson was given honorable mention, despite his current tenure with the Chicago Bears, along with current safety Harrison Smith:
“Drafted by the Vikings in 2013, Patterson reached a career-high 1,393 yards and two touchdowns on 43 kickoff returns on his way to the Pro Bowl as a rookie and was one of the most dangerous returners of the past decade. Smith was another easy choice. His 13 career sacks are the most by any defensive back since 2013. The five-time Pro Bowler and 2017 All-Pro notched 23 interceptions and set a franchise record with four of those being returned for touchdowns.”
Coach Mike Zimmer was given honorable mention for the best NFC North Coach of the past decade behind former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Packers in 2011.
The entire roster of NFC North All-Decade Team was voted on by ESPN’s NFC North reporters and can be viewed below:
QB: Aaron Rodgers, Packers, 2005-present
RB: Adrian Peterson, Vikings, 2007-16
WR: Jordy Nelson, Packers, 2008-17
WR: Calvin Johnson, Lions, 2007-15
WR: Davante Adams, Packers, 2015-present
TE: Kyle Rudolph, Vikings, 2011-present
LT: David Bakhtiari, Packers, 2013-present
LG: Kyle Long, Bears, 2013-19
C: John Sullivan, Vikings, 2008-14
RG: Josh Sitton, Packers, 2008-15; Bears, 2016-17
RT: Bryan Bulaga, Packers, 2010-19
DE: Julius Peppers, Bears, 2010-13; Packers, 2014-16
DT: Linval Joseph, Vikings, 2014-19
DT: Ndamukong Suh, Lions, 2010-14
DE: Jared Allen, Vikings, 2008-13; Bears, 2014-15
LB: Clay Matthews, Packers, 2009-18
LB: Lance Briggs, Bears, 2003-14
LB: Chad Greenway, Vikings, 2007-16
CB: Charles Tillman, Bears, 2003-14
CB: Darius Slay, Lions, 2013-19
S: Harrison Smith, Vikings, 2012-present
S: Glover Quin, Lions, 2013-18
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Vikings Tie Packers With 8 Selections Each
Both the Vikings and Packers led the NFC North field with eight selections to the team, but how they got there is starkly different.
The Packers, anchored by its offensive line, had three selections Bryan Baluga, John Sitton and current left tackle David Bakhtiari. The additions of Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson added to the Packers’ offensive considerations by the ESPN reporters.
Kyle Rudolph landed himself a spot on the offensive lineup, but it was majorly defensive players who made the list for the Vikings.
Linval Joesph, Jared Allen, Chad Greenway and Smith led a Vikings-heavy lineup in the all-decade team.
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