If you want a game-by-game look and predictions for the Vikings’ 2020 schedule, you can find that here. Below you will find some initial observations following Thursday night’s release of the schedule.
- Let’s start with one thing that would have me concerned if I’m the Vikings. The NFL has Minnesota opening at home on Sept. 13 against NFC North rival Green Bay. There seems to be a good chance that because of coronavirus that, if the game is played, it will be held with no fans in U.S. Bank Stadium. That’s fine, as long as no fans are allowed in Lambeau Field in Week 8 (Nov. 1) when the Packers play host to the Vikings. Otherwise, the Vikings are going to have a legit case that it’s an unfair advantage that when Aaron Rodgers and Co., visited their fans weren’t allowed but when Kirk Cousins and his team went to Green Bay there were fans in the stands. Who knows? Maybe this entire season will be played without crowds. This will mark the fourth consecutive year the Vikings are scheduled to open at home.
- OK, enough complaining. Overall, if I’m the Vikings I’m thrilled with this schedule and how it’s drawn up. Minnesota has two, two-game road trips but never gets three in a row away from home. The Vikings, meanwhile, will play three consecutive home games, facing Dallas, Carolina and Jacksonville, from Nov. 22 to Dec. 6. The Vikings do end the season with back-to-back road games. A Christmas Day game in New Orleans won’t be easy, but that Jan. 3 game against the Lions in Detroit could feature a very checked out team.
- The Vikings’ game in New Orleans will be the first Friday game since the San Diego Chargers beat the Tennessee Titans on Christmas night in 2009, according to ESPN. It will be just the 11th NFL game played on a Friday since the 1970 merger. The Vikings last played on Christmas Day in 2005, when they lost, 30-23, at Baltimore on a Sunday night.
- The Vikings were slated to make five prime-time appearances when the NFL schedule was released a year ago, although a December meeting with the Chargers was moved to the afternoon. This time the Vikings have only two games scheduled under the lights, including a Sunday night game in Seattle on Oct. 11 and a Monday night game in Chicago on Nov. 16. This isn’t bad news for the Vikings, considering Kirk Cousins is 7-15 in prime-time during his career and is 0-9 on Monday Night Football. Cousins was 2-2 in prime time last season but 0-2 on Monday nights.
- The Vikings’ preseason schedule also is out. It features Houston in Week 1 (Aug. 13-17) at U.S. Bank Stadium; the Bengals in Week 2 (Aug. 20-24) in Cincinnati; the Browns in Week 3 at 3 p.m. on Aug. 30 on Fox in Cleveland; and Seattle in Week 4 (Sept. 3-4) at U.S. Bank Stadium.
- So what’s the NFL’s plan if the coronavirus doesn’t allow it to start on time? The answers are in this ESPN story: