The Vikings’ schedule is the foundation for a strong start to the season. One of the best examples of the NFL’s unparalleled popularity in the United States is that the annual release of all 32 teams’ schedules is a big deal. Fans won’t find their favorite team’s opponent next season; the information is already there. NFL London fans can buy NFL London Tickets from our website.
The date, time, and TV channel for each game are new, which is enough to generate a lot of interest. Completely molded some game days, times, and channels. So much so that a random person created a Twitter account called “NFL Schedule Leaks” gaining over 10,000 followers in the process.
Anyway, the full schedule for the Vikings was revealed last week. Let’s dive into five thoughts on how Kevin O’Connell’s team is on the cusp of 17 games and a farewell.
1. We will learn a lot about the Vikings at the beginning of the year
For the O’Connell era, it’s hard to think of a more exciting way to host the pesky Packers in Week 1. Right now it’s going to be a huge test for Aaron Rodgers, and the defense looks set to be one of the best in the league. Za’Darius Smith and Chandon Sullivan meet their old clubs for the first time to make the game even more attractive. Going 1-0 and leading Green Bay early in the division would be huge.
“At home against the Green Bay Packers, that’s what I see on the schedule right now because it’s week one,” said O’Connell. “Obviously our fans have a chance to come to Bank of America Stadium, make sure those things are all purple and I can’t wait to hear how loud it will be when we run out of the tunnel. “
But that wasn’t the only big game in the first game of the season. The following week, the Vikings got an early prime-time opportunity to play a road game against the Eagles in Monday night football. Philadelphia was an NFC wildcard team last year and is expected to be back in the mix. So this will be an important first road test for Minnesota. Then the Vikings’ two other home games (against the Lions in Week 3 and the Bears in Week 5) are sandwiched between London’s games against the Saints – another team that may fall outside the NFC.
When the Vikings return from London, we’ll know what kind of team they have this year.
2. Don’t say goodbye to a week right away after London makes sense
Since the NFL began its international series in 2007, 60 teams have played a game in London. Fifty-five of those teams parted ways the following week to help recover from jet lag from intercontinental travel.
The Vikings chose to be outnumbered this year, and they asked to see each other in a few weeks. They come back from London to host the Bears. Then go to Miami in week 6 and rest in week 7.
“See you in week 5, although it might help to end such a journey at short notice. Play 13 games in a row and then maybe play some bonus games, it can be exhausting, but it’s really good for these exhausted guys,” O’Connell said. “So what we’re trying to do is see you a little later. Let’s get that trip over to week 7 and we’re going to do a great job with our sports performance team and listen to the science on how we make our players feel good about it. That game felt good, but it’s clear that making sure our players feel good at home for the coming week is a big part of that.”
It is logical. Week 5 bye is too early, especially now that there are 17 games on the schedule. A farewell in a few weeks should be fine, and then the Vikings have a little farewell after Thanksgiving in week 12. It helps that the next two games in London, against the Bears and Dolphins, look pretty winnable.
3. The schedule gets difficult after the bye
The Vikings want to see week 7 bye with a 4-2 record or better as things heat up in week 8. The five games are against the Cardinals, Commanders, Bills and Cowboys, and the Patriots. Four of those five teams were playoff teams last year, and Washington (the only non-playoff team) has a solid roster, upgraded to the quarterback, and replaced by Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke.
This period will see some of the best opposing quarterbacks the Vikings have seen outside of Rodgers twice. Josh Allen is one of the top QBs in the league and Kyler Murray and Dak Prescott are dynamic players. Even Wentz and Mac Jones can score if the Vikings’ defenses don’t work.
Going through that stretch 6-5 gives Minnesota a strong finish, but they hope to do better.
4. It probably all comes down to New Year’s Day
The Vikings played Week 17 against the Packers at Lambeau Field for the second consecutive season. Last year, with the hopes of the playoffs so far away. They had to start Sean Mannion because Kirk Cousins was on the COVID roster. Unsurprisingly, the Packers, who had already won the division championship, won in a great way.
This year, the Vikings hope to have more in that game or else they’ll be the ones to finish the division. They presumably want their starting QB to be available as well. Hosting the Vikings-Packers at Lambeau in January may not be desirable for some fans looking for a little warmth. While attending such a big game, it does add to the classic NFC North feel. It would also be interesting to keep it on the first day in 2023.
5. All things considered, this is a favorable schedule for the Vikings
We already know that the Vikings have no schedule with the opponents they will face. The Vikings are ranked 20th in the NFL this year, according to the latest winning totals in Vegas. Other than twice against Rodgers and against Allen, Murray, and Prescott, they don’t have a particularly tough QB. Jalen Hurts, Jameis Winston, and Matt Ryan were solid. But the Vikings also acquired Jared Goff and Justin Fields twice, along with Mac Jones. Daniel Jones, Tua Tagovailoa, Wentz, and Zach Wilson. There’s also the fact that they have nine home and eight away games. One of which is actually a neutral ground match in London.
But the way the schedule was made things even more favorable. By playing each of the first three-division games at home, the Vikings got off to a strong start. Then, from week 11 to week 16, five of their six games were at home. In total, the Vikings’ first 15 games include nine home games. Five away games, and games at a neutral venue in London. Closing out matches in Green Bay and Chicago may be difficult. But the Vikings will accept it because of the way their first 16 weeks were structured.
If the Vikings can stay healthy, win some exciting games, and live up to their potential on paper. This season should be fun for fans.
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