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Sporting News Picks the NFL 2019 Division Winners – Where Do the Vikings Land?

It’s that time of the year when national pundits start to look ahead and pick records for teams around the league, as well as pick the winners of the divisions.

Sporting News is out with their 2019 predictions, and they have their picks in for the NFC North.

The longtime company picks the Packers and Bears, not a big surprise, will be the two top teams in the division, with just a game between the two.

The Packers are expected to end the season at 12-4, while they have the Bears ending the year at 11-5.

Sporting News has the Vikings at 9-7 being the third place team, while they have the Lions sitting at 5-11.

Here’s the complete rundown of who Sporting News likes along with the Super Bowl teams.

Vikings to Be Without RT Brian O’Neill, Possibly Others in Friday’s Preseason Opener

The Vikings won’t have one of their tackles on Friday when they battle the Vikings, as the Associated Press reports that second-year right tackle Brian O’Neill won’t play against the New Orleans Saints.

Coach Mike Zimmer talked about other players on Wednesday that could be limited or held out of the first preseason matchup.

O’Neill has missed the past two practices. He was an observer on Wednesday with a brace on his right arm. Coach Mike Zimmer said he might hold out “one or two but not very many” players against the Saints.

Veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph missed three straight days with a “minor” injury, according to Zimmer, but practiced the past two days. Defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Shamar Stephen could be held out after being limited in training camp practices.

Reserve offensive tackle Aviante Collins didn’t practice on Wednesday because of a left leg injury and is unlikely to play.

Cornerback Mike Hughes and tight end David Morgan are on the physically unable to perform list. Hughes is returning from knee surgery that ended his rookie season in 2018. Defensive end Tashawn Bower is on the non-football injury list with a torn Achilles.

CB Morris Claiborne Working Out for the Vikings

The Vikings are exploring all their options at cornerback, Logan Reardon of NFL.com reports.

With Mike Hughes on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and Holton Hill suspended for eight games, Minnesota is working out Morris Claiborne, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

The Cowboys drafted Claiborne sixth overall in 2012 and he remained with Dallas until 2016. After spending the last two seasons with the Jets, Claiborne is still looking for work.

Claiborne, 29, set career-highs last season with two interceptions and 57 combined tackles in 15 starts. He ended the season on the injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

Vikings Pickup RB De’Angelo Henderson Off Waivers from the Jets

The Vikings worked on their roster on Wednesday, as the team picked up running back De’Angelo Henderson off waivers from the Jets

A former Broncos sixth-round draft choice in 2017, Henderson made it just past the midway point on the waiver wire. He will join a Vikings team that has third-year player C.J. Ham and third-round rookie Alexander Mattison in place behind Dalvin Cook.

After setting an NCAA Division I record by recording a rushing touchdown in 35 consecutive games, Henderson could not stick with the Broncos last year. Denver’s additions of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman led Henderson to New York. Between his time with the Jets and Broncos, the 5-foot-7 back has taken just nine regular-season handoffs.

Mike Zimmer said recently Ham may be the favorite to begin as Minnesota’s complementary back behind Cook, with Mattison learning the ropes as a pass protector in the meantime. Henderson figures to be competing for a spot behind that duo, should the Vikings keep four backs.

Video: Reload: The Story of the 2018 Minnesota Vikings

The 2018 season was the Minnesota Vikings’ 58th in the National Football League, their third playing their home games at U.S. Bank Stadium and their fifth under head coach Mike Zimmer.

Video – Football Gameplan’s 2019 NFL Team Preview: Minnesota Vikings

00:46 – 4-Minute Offense

2:35 – Positional Breakdown

8:11 – Hunt’s Playbook

12:11 – Fantasy Focus

15:05 – Best Bets

15:43 – Training Camp Quick Takes

18:28 – Road to the Super Bowl

Vikings RB Roc Thomas Gets Three-Game Suspension by the NFL

Vikings running back Roc Thomas has been suspended for three games without pay by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

Thomas, 23, was sentenced to three years probation in May after pleading guilty to a felony charge of marijuana possession. A Jan. 16 search of his Mendota Heights apartment found about 5 ounces of marijuana.

Thomas can practice with the Vikings during training camp and play in preseason games, but he will be ineligible for the first three regular season games against the Falcons, Packers and Raiders. He can return to the team on Monday, Sept. 23.

Check Out the Madden 20 Rankings for All the Vikings Players

Monday was a day that many gaming fans wait for each year, the day that the most popular sports series of all-time puts out their player rankings.

That game of course is Madden football, and this year Madden 20 is once again going to be a game played by millions who are into the NFL and video games.

One aspect of the game is player rankings, and the top Vikings player on the list was strong safety Harrison Smith and wide out Adam Thielen, who both came in with a ranking of 94.

Fellow wide out Stefon Diggs is not far behind, as he has a ranking of 93.

Check out all the Vikings Rankings by clicking HERE

Three Questions About the Vikings as Training Camp Gets Closer

Following a season in which the Vikings went 8-7-1 and fell short of their goal to win the NFC North, there’s a level of excitement about the team as 2019 approaches.

Now that the calendar has turned to July, the start of training camp is closing in and things are ramping up for the franchise to get ready for 2019.

Today we take a quick look at three questions about this team as they get set to embark on what they hope will be a season playing into early February.

1. Give Cousins a Chance

Kirk Cousins had plenty of ups and downs as the QB for 16 games for the Vikings in 2018, but he still wrapped up the season with 30 touchdowns and a QB rating of 99.7.

The line has to play better for him this season, as overall the team allowed 40 sacks, way too many for Cousins to not only be good, but for the team as a whole to be consistent.

Let’s see if this team can get on the same page early on.

2. More Cook Please

Dalvin Cook played in 11 games, starting 10, and looks like a dynamic back that can have a big impact on this offense in 2019.

He ran for 615 yards and a pair of scores, which included a 70-yard run during the campaign. Overall Cook put up 4.6 yards per carry, even with at times an offensive line that just didn’t block as well as they could.

Look for a camp that puts Cook into more situations of getting into the open field, and he should have a big season for the Vikings.

3. A Defense That Could Be Even Better

Last season the Vikings defense looked great at parts of the season, and wrapped up the season finishing fourth in yards allowed, with 9th overall in points given up.

The team did have their letdowns, like allowing 29 points to the Packers, 27 to the Bills and 38 to the Rams in weeks two, three and four.

They have to be more consistent, and look for this D to have a season in which they help this franchise make a run to the postseason.

Vikings and Tight End Kyle Rudolph Agree to Contract Extension

On the eve of their mandatory minicamp, the Vikings solved their most pressing financial question, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph, whose contract was set to expire after this season, told the Star Tribune via text message he has agreed to a new deal with the team, after posting a note on his Twitter feed that said, “I am honored beyond words to say that my home, our home, will always be … in Minnesota!”

After drafting Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr. in the second round, the Vikings worked with the 29-year-old Rudolph on a new deal that would extend his time with the team while providing the Vikings some salary cap relief.

The team entered Monday with just $611,926 in cap space, according to NFL Players Association salary data, and had targeted a deal with Rudolph — who was originally set to make $7.625 million this season — as a means of creating some breathing room.

The structure of Rudolph’s new deal will determine how much cap relief it provides. ESPN reported the terms were four years and $36 million.