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Minnesota Vikings Facing Potentially Tough Road To Playoffs

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Minnesota Vikings

 

Seemingly doomed by a freak season-ending injury to starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the loss of offensive linchpin and starting running back Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings have easily been the NFL’s biggest overachievers this season despite their status as reigning NFC North champs, but now that they’ve returned from their well-deserved week off, the true test of their talent begins.

Heading into Sunday’s game in Philadelphia against the 3-2 Eagles, Minnesota sits comfortably atop the NFC North thanks to a flawless 5-0 start consisting of victories over the Tennessee Titans [3-3], Green Bay Packers [4-2], Carolina Panthers [1-5], New York Giants [3-3], and Houston Texans [4-2].

Not exactly a glass-half-full kind of guy, Vikings’ head coach Mike Zimmer was quick to minimize his team’s early success while speaking to reporters after seven days of studying Minnesota’s five-game performance.

”There are a lot of things [we need to improve],” said Zimmer via ESPN. ”Some of the coverages we’re playing, we have to do a better job of. Offensively, we’ve got to limit minus plays—keeps putting us in difficult situations, and a lot of it is philosophical talk about five weeks too, which I’m not going to talk about.”

Through the first six weeks of the season, Minnesota’s first five opponents own a barely-mediocre combined mark of 15-15. But while the remaining 11 opponents on Minnesota’s schedule currently possess a combined record that’s even worse [28-33], the potential for trouble is much greater than it’s been thus far.

This Sunday’s game against Philadelphia is a good example of what the Vikings will be dealing with moving forward. At 3-2, the Eagles aren’t currently the class of the NFC East, but don’t be fooled by the fact that two of their three wins have come against the 0-6 Cleveland Browns and 1-6 Chicago Bears. Along with a 2-0 mark at home, the Eagles crushed the 4-2 Pittsburgh Steelers 34-3 in Week 3, and one of their two losses is a one-point loss at the 3-3 Detroit Lions, while the other was last week’s 27-20 affair at the 4-2 Washington Redskins.

After Sunday’s trip to Philly, the Vikings will be expected to take care of business in their second straight road game against the lowly Bears in Week 8, before heading home to host the offensively-dangerous Lions in a divisional match-up in Week 9. Unfortunately for this year’s version of ”The Purple People Eaters”, there won’t be much time to hang out at the homestead due to a Week 10 date in D.C. with the Redskins and their third road trip in four weeks.

Following their visit to the nation’s capital, the Vikings will then welcome another potentially-problematic opponent to the Twin Cities when the 3-3 Arizona Cardinals fly into town in Week 11. From there, Minnesota will play two of its next three games on the road with a Week 12 contest in Detroit, what’s expected to be a tough home game against the 5-1 Dallas Cowboys in Week 13, and a sunny trip south to face the 2-3 Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14.

Finally, Minnesota will finish its season with a Week 15 home game against the Indianapolis Colts, a road trip to Lambeau Field seven days later, and another home game in the regular season finale against Chicago in Week 17.

Are the Eagles, Lions, Redskins, and Cardinals all locks to make the playoffs? Obviously not. But they’re not cellar-dwellers either, and all four have potentially-explosive offenses capable of unleashing their respective wrath at the slightest hint of a defensive misstep. As a defensively-driven team that’s playing without its top two offensive weapons, the Vikings are always on the brink of getting into a shootout they can’t win whenever the defense has a bad game.

Zimmer and the Vikes have a fairly good idea of what to expect when they square-off with Dallas at home in Week 13 and Green Bay on the road in Week 16—a four-quarter war against a pair of likely playoff participants. However, the same can’t be said for consecutive contests at Jacksonville and versus Indianapolis.

Unlike Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington, and Arizona, Jacksonville and Indy aren’t seen as playoff contenders despite owning somewhat similar records. But in the same way that those four teams posses the offensive firepower to bury the Vikings if their defense is having an off-day, the Jags, who boast a trio of talented pass-catchers, and the Colts, who’ve scored at least 20 points in every game, could also turn a late-season ”gimme” into an afternoon nightmare.

As long as disaster doesn’t strike, Minnesota’s regular season finale versus Chicago on New Year’s Day should offer the division leaders a chance to rest anyone who needs it prior to playoffs. But despite leading the league in points allowed per game [12.6] and dominating each of their last three opponents, the Vikings may have a tougher road to the post-season than most expect.

Minnesota Vikings

NFC: What’s At Stake on Championship Sunday?

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NFL Championship

In the National Football League, today is known as championship Sunday. Back in August 32 teams had hopes and dreams of playing in Super Bowl LII in Minnesota on February 4. In the NFC, 16 teams started. Four are all that remain. Minnesota and Philadelphia. Before the game starts, here’s how they got here.

Minnesota Vikings

In the first four weeks of the regular season, they went 2-2. Then, they went on a nine-game winning streak. To close out the regular season, the Vikings won their final three games. Overall, the Vikings finished the 2017 regular season with a 13-3. The won the NFC North division and got a bye in the playoffs.

During Wildcard weekend, the Vikings watched as the New Orleans Saints defeated the Carolina Panthers. Then in last weeks thrilling NFC Divisional game, the Saints traveled to Minnesota to face the Vikings. With 10 seconds left in the game, quarterback Case Keenum threw what is known as the Minnesota Maricle. Now, with one game away from not only hosting a Super Bowl but also playing in it, they must go through Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles. As for most recent seasons, this is the first time the Vikings are in the NFC Championship game since the 2009 season.

Philadelphia Eagles

In a tough NFC East division, it looked like Dallas was going to run away with the division title. But, it was the Eagles who stole that from them. Not only that but for being a 13-3 team, they earned a first-round bye and home-field advantage. Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles took on the Atlanta Falcons. Thanks to the Eagles defense, the Eagles have advanced to the 2017 NFC Championship game. This is the Eagles first championship game since the 2004 season.

My Thoughts

My thoughts on the game are that I would like to see Minnesota be in the same Super Bowl considering they are hosting. Eagles deserve it too, but not as much as the Vikings.

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2018 Opponents Set For Each NFL Team

Anthony DiMoro

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Now that the 2017 regular season in the books, it’s time to look forward to the 2018 season right?

Just like eating at some of the top restaurants in the nation, it’s good to know what’s on your plate next, regardless of how far away you are from your next dish.

Here is the rundown of the opponents for each NFL team in 2018:

AFC EAST

 

New England Patriots
Home: Buffalo BillsMiami Dolphins, New York JetsGreen Bay PackersHouston TexansIndianapolis ColtsKansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings
Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Chicago BearsDetroit LionsJacksonville JaguarsPittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans

Buffalo Bills
Home: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans
Away: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings

Miami Dolphins
Home: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans
Away: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets
Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings
Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans

AFC NORTH

 

Pittsburgh Steelers
Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Atlanta FalconsCarolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots
Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Baltimore Ravens
Home: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Away: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans

Cincinnati Bengals
Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers

Cleveland Browns
Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets
Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

AFC SOUTH

 

Jacksonville Jaguars
Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins
Away: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants

Tennessee Titans
Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
Away: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants

Indianapolis Colts
Home: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants
Away: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

Houston Texans
Home: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants
Away: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

AFC WEST

 

Kansas City Chiefs
Home: Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers
Away: Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks

Los Angeles Chargers
Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans
Away: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks

Oakland Raiders
Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers

Denver Broncos
Home: Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers

NFC EAST

 

Philadelphia Eagles
Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings
Away: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans

Dallas Cowboys
Home: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans
Away: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks

Washington Redskins
Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts
Away: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans

New York Giants
Home: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans
Away: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers

NFC NORTH

 

Minnesota Vikings
Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers
Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks

Detroit Lions
Home: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers

Green Bay Packers
Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers
Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins

Chicago Bears
Home: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Away: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers

NFC SOUTH

 

New Orleans Saints
Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins
Away: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants

Carolina Panthers
Home: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks
Away: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins

Atlanta Falcons
Home: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants
Away: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins
Away: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants

NFC WEST

 

Los Angeles Rams
Home: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles
Away: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks
Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings
Away: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders

Arizona Cardinals
Home: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Washington Redskins
Away: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers
Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders
Away: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Minnesota Vikings

Replacing Dalvin Cook: Florida State Football Doesn’t Rebuild They Reload

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In 2017 Florida State football will have to replace the most productive running back in school history. Dalvin Cook was drafted by The Minnesota Vikings with the 41st overall pick to help replace Adrian Peterson. Now, Florida State will have to try and replace him.

Conventional wisdom says they will take a step back, but Florida State football does a lot more reloading than rebuilding these days. As great as Dalvin Cook was during his record breaking career, Florida State’s backfield will probably be their biggest strength this season.

The Seminoles will have two five star running back recruits coming into the program this year, Cam Akers and Khalan Laborn.

Akers was the number 1 ranked running back in the country and the number 2 player overall. The Mississippi native and former high school quarterback accounted for 8,140 passing yards and 5,103 rushing yards in his four years as a starter.  He also tallied 149 total touchdowns.

Laborn was the number 1 ranked all-purpose back in the country. As a starter he compiled over 4,000 yards rushing and 45 touchdowns in his career with an average of 10.5 yards per carry. He was also MVP of the 2017 Under Armour All-American Game.

The Virginia Beach product is definitely ready for the spotlight. He elected to wear number 4, Dalvin Cook’s old number, and he announced his commitment to FSU by hopping out of a Lamborghini and waving a giant FSU flag at the Nike sponsored “The Opening” combine.

Junior, Jaques Patrick and sophomore, Amir Rasul will compete with the two freshman for a majority of the carries this season. Both Patrick and Rasul have game experience. Patrick served as the primary backup for Cook last season.

The running back by committee movement will be pretty fun to watch in 2017.


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