The Minnesota Vikings, who challenged the Chicago Bears for the NFC Central title but were forced to settle for a wild-card berth, placed four players on TheAssociated Press All-Pro team, more than any team.
Three of the Vikings - tackle Keith Millard, cornerback Carl Lee and safety Joey Browner - were members of the defense that allowed the least yardage in the NFL. The fourth was offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman.Despite those four All-Pros and nine players on the NFC Pro Bowl squad, the Vikings finished only 11-5, a game behind the Bears, who have won five straight division championships.
Two teams, the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, placed three players on the 24-member squad, selected by writers and broadcasters who covered each of the league's 28 teams.
The San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears each had two players on the team, with the only rookie, tight end Keith Jackson, coming from the Eagles.
The team also includes two players who mised the season's first four games for substance abuse violations - defensive end Bruce Smith of Buffalo and linebacker Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants. Both made the team by overwhelming margins. For Taylor, it was the seventh first-team selection in his eight NFL seasons - he was a second-team choice last year.
The first team included wide receivers Jerry Rice of San Francisco and Henry Ellard of the Rams; tight end Keith Jackson of Philadelphia; tackles Zimmerman and Anthony Munoz of Cincinnati; guards Bruce Matthews of Houston and Tom Newberry of the Bears; quarterback Boomer Esiason of Cincinnati; running backs Roger Craig of the 49ers and Eric Dickerson of Indianapolis, and kicker Scott Norwood of Buffalo.
The defense includes Smith and Reggie White of Philadelphia at end; Millard at tackle; Tim Krumrie of Cincinnati at nose tackle; Taylor and Cornelius Bennettof Buffalo at outside linebacker; Mike Singletary of Chicago at inside linebacker; Lee and Frank Minnifield of Cleveland at cornerback; Browner and Deron Cherryof Kansas City at safety, and Mike Horan of Denver at punter.