The Vikings’ 2018 schedule begins where last season’s ended, as Minnesota is slated to travel to Philadelphia for the season-opener and a rematch of last year’s NFC title game. It’s just one of several intriguing games on the Vikings’ regular-season schedule.
Biggest breaks: The Vikings are fortunate to get the Saints at home, avoiding the intimidation factor of the Superdome and welcoming New Orleans back to the site of the Minneapolis Miracle. With the exception of the Patriots game, the AFC East presents the Vikings multiple winnable games on their schedule.
Bottom line: There isn’t much reason to expect a big drop-off this season for the Vikings, so the focus turns to their opponents. If teams like the Bears, Lions, Rams and 49ers take the steps of improvement many expect them to take, the strength of Minnesota’s schedule will increase significantly. Some of those non-divisional NFC games on the schedule will have the Vikings thinking about the playoffs, but their first priority should be defending their NFC North title. Record prediction: 9-7
Shazier, 25, is still rehabbing from a serious spinal injury suffered in a Dec. 4 game against the Bengals that required spinal stabilization surgery and left him in a wheelchair. Still, the injury hasn’t stopped the two-time Pro Bowl player from attending various sporting events, including Wednesday’s Stanley Cup playoff game between the Penguins and Flyers at PPG Paints Arena.
Although he won’t play in 2018, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert confirmed there will be some sort of designation for Shazier so he can still remain a part of the team next season.
The Giants should be listening to all trade offers from teams that want to jump the Jets to get their preferred QB, but in the wake of the Jason Pierre-Paul trade, their pass rush becomes even more of a glaring weakness. Chubb would thrive in New York’s new defense as a sack artist with a variety of moves; the next Chandler Jones for coordinator James Bettcher.