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Lunchbreak: Vikings Featured in Plenty of 2018 Marquee Matchups

The Vikings have known for months who their opponents will be for the 2018 season.

And while the order hasn't been determined, that should change soon, as the NFL usually releases the annual schedule before the NFL Draft.

With some excitement on tap, NFL.com's Elliot Harrison recently listed the top 18 games he's looking forward to for the 2018 season.

Harrison had the Vikings playing in a handful of them, including one of the most anticipated games for the 2018 slate. Minnesota was listed in three of Harrison's top six games.

Minnesota's home game against New Orleans — a rematch of the epic 'Minneapolis Miracle' finish — came in at No. 3 on Harrison's list.

He wrote:

You can probably guess why this game is on here. Even moving past the Stefon Diggs home-run ball from the Divisional Round of the playoffs, Saints at Vikings presents a fascinating matchup between an offense built to play indoors and a defense fully throttled to stop it. Then there's New Orleans', well, new-look defense, which was actually doing far more to impose its will in last year's thriller than Mike Zimmer's defensive unit. Kirk Cousins' arrival in Minnesota actually makes this game juicier. Don't forget the Redskins-Saints tussle last year, which Washington should've pulled out. Cousins torched Dennis Allen's defense for 322 yards, three touchdowns and no picks in the 34-31 loss. This 2018 showdown should be another classic. Diggs repeat?

Harrison also featured one of the Vikings biggest road tests as his fifth-ranked game he's excited to see, as Minnesota will travel to New England during the 2018 season.

He wrote that the matchup belongs in the top five for multiple reasons, noting "these very well could be the franchises featured in Super Bowl LIII" and "Kirk Cousins can certainly make hay against the New England secondary, a la Nick Foles in February."

Harrison also said the rarity of the matchup, plus the return of Dalvin Cook from an ACL injury, means this game won't be short on storylines.

Minnesota's NFC title game rematch at Philadelphia was a spot below at No. 6 on Harrison's list.

He wrote:

An NFC Championship Game rematch, although that battle for conference supremacy wasn't much of a match at all. Should be different this time around. The obvious factor is the change at quarterback for the Vikings, with Kirk Cousins taking over for the departed Case Keenum, who didn't perform anywhere near the mean of his 2017 catalogue in January's NFC title bout.

The Vikings matchup against the Arizona Cardinals — and former Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford — was the No. 15 game on Harrison's list.

Kendricks 'hungry' for family's second title

Eric Kendricks inked a multi-year contract extension on Monday, meaning he'll be with the Vikings for the long haul.

And it means the linebacker can keep working toward his goal of bringing a championship to Minnesota.

If Kendricks and the Vikings can do so, he'll match the feat his brother, Mychal, accomplished this past season when the Eagles linebacker won Super Bowl LII with Philadelphia.

John Shipley of the *Pioneer Press *wrote earlier this week that Eric Kendricks has no ill will toward his brother's accomplishment, which came after the Vikings lost in the NFC title game.

"Obviously, it didn't end well for us. It ended very good for my brother, and he was able to go on and win in the Super Bowl," Kendricks said Monday. "Going back home and talking to him, and that's one of the things that we dreamed of growing up playing this sport, so it's been cool."

The question for Vikings fans is whether it makes Eric any hungrier for an NFL championship.

"I can't say it makes me any hungrier," he said. "I've been hungry. I just know what I want and I work to get it."

A second-round pick in 2015 (45th overall), Kendricks has led the Vikings in tackles in each of his first three seasons in Purple, tallying 367 total tackles (according to coaches' tally) during that span.

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