Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen named to first Pro Bowl

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The Minnesota Vikings have a second Pro Bowler.

The Vikings announced Thursday that defensive end Everson Griffen has been added to the Pro Bowl roster. He replaces Houston's J.J. Watt, who will miss the game because of an injury.

Griffen led the Vikings with 10.5 sacks, 17 tackles for loss and 76 quarterback hurries .

"Any time you get to make the Pro Bowl it's an honor; that means you worked hard this season and you were a top player at your position," Griffen said Thursday. "It's just an honor to go out there and represent not just me, but the Minnesota Vikings, as well. It's an opportunity to showcase my abilities."

It will be Griffen's first pro bowl appearance. His teammates were excited for him.

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According to the Star Tribune, since taking over as a starting defensive end the last two seasons Griffen has recorded 22.5 sacks – ranking him sixth among NFL pass rushers.

Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson notes that Griffen's ability to rush the passer has helped the team's defense improve over the last two seasons. Minnesota ranked fifth in the NFL in points allowed this year.

"He deserves this honor for all of the hard work and his play over the last two seasons when I've had the pleasure to coach him," Patterson said. "Last year, I was disappointed he didn't make it. I thought he had a Pro Bowl year last year, and he backed it up with another strong year. I think it's something that's well-deserved and earned, and he can be proud of that."

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He joins running back Adrian Peterson as the Vikings' only other player named to the Pro Bowl. Peterson won the NFL's rushing title with 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.

The Pro Bowl is Jan. 31 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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