The Vikings know they will once again head to Philadelphia to play the Eagles during the 2018 season. What they don't know, however, is at what point in the season.
In the wake of the Eagles defeat of the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, NFL.com's Kevin Patra reminded fans, "As is normal tradition, the Super Bowl winner will host the NFL's annual *Thursday Night Kickoff *in 2018 with much pomp and circumstance."
Patra opined that three options, including the Vikings, stand out as the top matchup options. He wrote the following of Minnesota being a possibility to open the season at Philadelphia:
The two teams each are division winners (the NFL loves putting division winners on opening night) with 13-3 records in 2017. Yes, the playoff matchup became a blowout, but that storyline would only add more intrigue leading up to kickoff. Does Doug Pederson have Mike Zimmer's number? Can a very good Vikings defense bounce back from a disastrous playoff performance?
Even without knowing how the Vikings quarterback situation will shake out, the NFL could do worse than giving us a rematch of the NFC Championship Game on opening night.
The other two teams Patra said would make good matchups for the opener would be the NFC East rival Cowboys or Giants. New York recently hired former Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur as its new head coach.
Keenum: Vikings feel like 'there's some unfinished business'
The Vikings had a successful 2017 season, finishing with the second-most regular-season wins (13) in franchise history and making it to the NFC Championship game.
But quarterback Case Keenum told 1500ESPN in an interview with Mackey and Judd last week that "it still really stings how the season ended" just one game short of playing in a Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium.
"We're all realizing that there were a lot of cool moments that happened this year. A lot of cool things that nobody can take away from us ever," Keenum added. "That's us as a team, us as Vikings fans, it was a great season. It didn't end like we wanted it to, but we had a blast and we did a lot of great things."
Matthew Coller wrote:
Keenum is one of three starting-caliber quarterbacks on the Vikings roster who officially becomes a free agent at the beginning of the new league year in March. The Vikings can decide to use the franchise tag on their 2017 starter, who led the team to a 13-3 regular season record and a playoff win, or they can let him hit the market, where he is sure to land a huge contract.
"We love Minnesota, we love it here, we love the season we had, we definitely feel like there's some unfinished business with how things ended," Keenum said. "At the same time, we understand tough decisions have to be made, and so we'll see what happens."
Coller said that no matter who the Vikings starting quarterback is in 2018, "fans will always remember Keenum as the author of one of the greatest moments in franchise history," when he and Stefon Diggs executed a 61-yard touchdown play to defeat the Saints in the final seconds of the Divisional round playoff game.