We've entered July, the month NFL training camps will kick off, and the beginning of the regular season is a few mileposts closer. The countdown is on for the Vikings home opener, in which they will host the Packers for *Sunday Night Football. *
Competition is always high between the division rival teams, but opening U.S. Bank Stadium for the regular season will prove a rematch after the Vikings dethroned Green Bay as division champ in Week 17 of last year.
Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter Brian Wood previewed **this year’s pair of Vikings-Packers games**. He wrote:
The schedule makers got this one right. A Sunday night game between two bitter NFC North rivals is the perfect setting for the christening of U.S. Bank Stadium.
There will be some revenge motivation for the Packers. They lost to the Vikings at Lambeau Field in last season's finale, snapping their streak of four straight NFC North titles.
Wood said the second of the two games will be just as important, if not more so, as the Vikings travel to Green Bay on Christmas Eve for a late-season faceoff once again.
With a little snow, it will be the perfect setting for what could be a critical divisional game with potential playoff implications.
The Packers have four straight road games (including the final two weeks of the preseason) before their home opener. Wood said it's a challenging way to start the season, but "their two matchups with the Vikings could not be better."
NFL Media's Adam Schein Ranks Adrian Peterson in Final Top-10 Players
As part of NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2016" series, the names of the final top 10 players **have been revealed**. Adrian Peterson is in the lineup, but the final ranking will be unknown until the show's finale next Wednesday at 8 p.m. (ET).
In the meantime, NFL Media's Adam Schein took a stab at the order himself and ranked the final 10 players in the **order he thinks they should be**. Schein placed Peterson at No. 5 on the list. He wrote:
Earlier this offseason, I ranked him as the most indispensable offensive player in the NFL (not counting quarterbacks). "All Day" remains the best running back in the NFL, producing game after game despite the fact that he's the central focus of every single defense he faces.
Averaging 97.3 yards per game (on 4.9 yards a pop) over the course of his nine-year career, Peterson is a true bell-cow back in an era of committee backfields.
Schein ranked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in the one, two and three spots, respectively.
The Carolina Panthers (Newton, Luke Kuechly) and the New England Patriots (Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski) each have two players in the top 10.
Anthony Harris continuing to develop heading into year two
Last year, rookie Anthony Harris went from the practice spot to the active roster to having opportunities to start in place of injured teammates.
Viking Update's Tim Yotter **caught up with Harris to discuss the offseason**, during which Harris has been working on building strength and refining his knowledge of the playbook to compete at the safety spot opposite Harrison Smith.
"I made sure I paid attention a lot last year coming into the spring and then all throughout training camp and throughout the season. I think I was able to build and take strides," Harris told Yotter. "There was a point where I got a lot of the defenses down to where I could start to analyze things. Now I'm just trying to fine tune that area and build on what I know of the defense and continue to learn on some of the defense I might have struggled with last year."
The offseason prior to his rookie season, Harris had been coming off a college injury and was not at full strength.
Off the field [this spring], his focus was on getting back to a manageable playing weight after losing muscle while he was idle following surgery last offseason. He had dropped to 185 pounds. […] Now, he's up to 197 pounds and looking to build on a rookie season in which he gained some valuable experience and NFL coaching.
"Coming off of injury and not having an offseason last year I just wanted to get in the weight room, get my strength back, get my weight back up, work on the explosion and different things of that sort," Harris told Yotter. "It was just kind of an all-around thing that I wanted to get better in all aspects."