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Lunchbreak: SI Ranks Vikings 2017 Schedule as 8th Most Difficult

Following last week's release of the 2017 NFL schedule, Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke ranked the 10 teams* *he feels have the most difficult schedule.

Based on the way Minnesota's schedule is laid out, Burke opined that the Vikings have the eighth-most-challenging schedule in the league. He wrote:

Another team that could get burned by an overly road-heavy stretch. The Vikings will enjoy the friendly U.S. Bank Stadium confines five times in the first seven weeks, then head to England to play Cleveland in Week 8. That all sets up for a hot start.

After a Week 9 bye, however, the Vikings play four of five on the road, highlighted by a Thanksgiving Day matchup in Detroit. Also on the slate from Weeks 10–14: at Washington, the Rams, at Atlanta, at Carolina. Those matchups with the Falcons and Panthers come on the heels of the Vikings' holiday showdown.

Coming ahead of the Vikings, starting with the most difficult, were the Patriots, Jets, Bears, Eagles, Broncos, Jaguars and Titans. The Falcons and Panthers were ranked at No. 9 and No. 10, respectively.

ESPN: Vikings 'ideal' pick would be OL at No. 48

Leading up to this week's draft, ESPN's Dan Graziano put together a "Draft Dreams" column that looks at the ideal scenario for each NFL team's first pick(s) this year.

The Vikings aren't slated to have a selection in the first round, so Graziano looked at pick No. 48 and said ideally for Minnesota the "offensive lineman of their dreams" falls into the middle of Round 2. He wrote:

The Vikings spent this year's first-round pick last September on Sam Bradford, then watched in horror as no one they used at tackle was able to protect him and they flushed a 5-0 start. They spent big in free agency on so-so solutions and need something sustainable if they're going to do anything before Bradford continues his tour of the league in 2018. Minnesota would love it if someone like Temple's Dion Dawkins or Indiana's Dan Feeney were sitting there when it was finally its turn to pick.

Perhaps the most interesting NFC North situation Graziano imagined was defensive end Myles Garrett, who is widely predicted to go to the Browns first overall, falling to the Bears at No. 3. Graziano said a talented cornerback to the Lions and top running back to the Packers would be the best-case scenarios for the other two division rivals.

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