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Lunchbreak: U.S. Bank Stadium Tabbed as NFL’s No. 1 Venue

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The 2019 season opener is 10 days away, and the folks at ESPN recently released 10 different Top 10 lists to celebrate the upcoming season.

A panel of ESPN’s NFL analysts released unveiled their top choices for various topics around the league, including lists of coaches, uniforms and referees.

The Vikings landed on a pair of Top 10s, including taking the top spot on Dan Graziano’s list of the best stadiums in the NFL.

Graziano wrote:

The space-age Viking-ship exterior shape is a bit weird, but wait until you get a load of the gleaming, sunny, modern perfection inside.

The Vikings will begin their fourth season at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sept. 8 against Atlanta. Minnesota is 17-7 inside the venue since it opened in 2016, including a 6-3 mark in NFC North games.

The Vikings also made Jeremy Fowler’s list for best traditions, as the NFL writer is a big fan of the Gjallarhorn.

Fowler wrote:

The massive, mythological horn sounds awesome in the Vikings' new stadium, especially when former star Vikings such as Randy Moss sound it off.

A special guest sounds the horn and leads the SKOL Chant prior in the moments before kickoff at each home game.

Boone, Zylstra and Watts listed as players to watch in preseason finale

The final preseason game is upon us, as the Vikings and Bills will kick things off from Buffalo 6 p.m. (CT) today.

Minnesota’s starters aren’t expected to play, so the last exhibition game is a chance for young players to make their case to be on the 53-man roster or the practice squad.

Matthew Coller of SKOR North recently wrote about the 10 areas he’ll have his eye on Thursday night, with Vikings running back Mike Boone topping the list.

Coller wrote:

Few Vikings players have been as impressive in the preseason as Mike Boone. Taking the majority of the reps in the backfield, the second-year back has gained 177 yards on 35 carries and caught two passes for 51 yards. However, Mike Zimmer said that Boone’s special teams performance will influence whether he ultimately has a spot on the 53-man roster. He acted as both a punt gunner and kick returner in the Vikings win over Arizona last Saturday. We may get indications of his chances by how many opportunities he’s given on special teams.

View images as the Vikings travel to Buffalo in advance of Thursday's preseason game vs. the Bills.

Boone currently tops the NFL in preseason rushing yards, and is a big reason why the Vikings lead the NFL with 537 rushing yards and 5.7 yards per carry in preseason play.

Coller is also interested in seeing how Brandon Zylstra performs in the battle for a spot at wide receiver.

Trying to read the tea leaves, it seemed the Vikings wanted to get a close look at Zylstra with the first team against the Cardinals. It turned out that the first team had by far its worst outing with Zylstra in instead of Adam Thielen. With one spot seemingly open behind Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Chad Beebe and Bisi Johnson, Zylstra may need a strong performance to solidify his case. He won a position last year and played mostly special teams. That experience might give him a leg up for WR5.

Zylstra has six catches for 44 yards and a touchdown in preseason play thus far. He was on Minnesota’s active roster in 2018 and had one reception for 23 yards.

Rookie Armon Watts is another player on Coller’s radar as the defensive tackle tries to edge his way onto the 53-man roster at a deep position group.

Coller wrote:

The 6-foot-5 defensive tackle has been a standout at times during preseason action, registering three QB hurries and one sack, per PFF. Watts is in the precarious position of battling for the final job on the defensive line, assuming the Vikings keep nine D-linemen. Hercules Mata’afa is also fighting for that spot. Watts’ status might depend on whether the Vikings saw enough as a third-down pass rusher from Mata’afa.

Watts was a sixth-round pick out of Arkansas in April.

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NFL Kickoff | We Ready

The kickoff for #NFL100 is here and we only have two words - WE READY! Don't miss the season opener Green Bay Packers taking on the Chicago Bears on Thursday, September 9th at 7:20 PM CT

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