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Lunchbreak: Vikings-Eagles Tops 'Washington Post's' 2018 'Games to Watch'

The 2018 NFL schedule will be released Thursday at 7 p.m. (CT).

And while Vikings fans have to wait in suspense on the order of opponents, we've known for a while now which teams the Vikings will face on the road and at home.

One of the Vikings matchups will be at Philadelphia, where they will face the reigning Super Bowl LII champions. Cindy Boren of *The Washington Post *recently opined five games that fans "absolutely, positively must not miss." She topped the list with Vikings-Eagles, writing the following:

The underdog Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl with a convincing 38-7 NFC championship game victory over Minnesota, depriving the Vikings of a Super Bowl home game. Nick Foles passed for 352 yards and three touchdowns against a Minnesota defense that allowed just 15.8 points per game. For the rematch, again in Philly, Minnesota should trot out new quarterback Kirk Cousins in what may well be the league's season opener.

According to Boren, the four other games to watch this season are 49ers at Rams, Patriots at Steelers, Packers at Patriots and Rams at Chargers.

Boren then looked at each of the 32 teams and their 2018 opponents and wrote about games that should be interesting. In addition to the Minnesota-Philadelphia matchup, Boren said she's anticipating the season's first Border Battle between the Vikings and Packers.

HOF Coach Bud Grant pulling for Wild in NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

Some may expect that Former Vikings Head Coach Bud Grant may have a hard time choosing who to root for in the Winnipeg Jets-Minnesota Wild series of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Grant played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 1953-56 and spent the next 10 seasons as the Bombers head coach before taking the helm of the Vikings, where he coached from 1967-83 and in 1985. The Hall of Fame coach spoke with Winnipeg sports reporter Russ Hobson on Tuesday, prior to the game in which the Jets defeated the Wild and took a 3-1 lead in the series. Hobson wrote:

He called Winnipeg home for 14 years, but there's no question who legendary Blue Bombers' head coach Bud Grant is rooting for in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"Remember, I've been down here [in Minnesota] for 50 years," Grant told Hobson. "So any allegiances I had, the Wild have taken them over."

Grant told Hobson that he grew up playing hockey in northern Wisconsin.

"I've been around hockey people when I was in Winnipeg," Grant said. "Our offices were in the arena there, so I used to watch hockey and curling."

Hobson spoke to Grant about his involvement as a consultant with the Vikings, with whom he continues to have an office at the team's headquarters.

"I'm around," Grant said. "Not that they need my help, that's for sure."

Dalvin Cook among Bleacher Report's players 'back for stardom' in 2018 after injury

Dalvin Cook had quite the rookie debut, rushing for more than 100 yards in his first NFL game and keeping up steam through the beginning of Week 4, in which he suffered an ACL tear against the Lions that abruptly ended his season.

Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report put together a list of players who were injured in 2017 that he believes will be "back for stardom" this season. Gagnon wrote the following of Cook:

*Cook was just that good in his first four games as a Viking, picking up 444 scrimmage yards on 85 touches while averaging 4.8 yards per carry (a mark which ranked fifth in the league at the time). Only Kareem Hunt and Todd Gurley accumulated more yards from scrimmage during the first four weeks of the year. *

Per analytics site *Pro Football Focus, only Hunt forced more missed tackles during that span.*

Gagnon quoted Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, who told media members at the Annual League Meetings in Orlando last month that Cook is "ahead of schedule" in his recovery and could see limited participation in OTAs.

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