Schedule release party: Will Vikings play on Thanksgiving night?

Clear your schedules for Wednesday evening because the NFL is going to announce its schedule. The NFL, knowing that football fans will drop everything to find out who their favorite team will play, announced Tuesday that it will reveal the schedule for every team at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The NFL already has announced the Bears will play host to the Packers on Thursday, Sept. 5 at Soldier Field to open its 100th season. It’s the NFL’s oldest rivalry and the Bears are starting their 100th season. The NFL also has announced the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots will open their season on Sunday Night Football on Sept. 8. The defending champion ordinarily opens its season on Thursday night.

As for the Vikings, we already know their opponents.

Home: Atlanta (7-9 in 2018), Chicago (12-4), Denver (6-10), Detroit (6-10), Green Bay (6-9-1), Oakland (4-12), Philadelphia (9-7) and Washington (7-9).

Road: Chicago (12-4), Dallas (10-6), Detroit (6-10), Green Bay (6-9-1), Kansas City (12-4), Los Angeles Chargers (12-4), New York Giants (5-11) and Seattle (10-6).

There was a previous report that the Vikings could play host to Philadelphia on Thanksgiving night.

Here are some predictions I gave Tuesday regarding the Vikings’ schedule on Purple Daily.

Who will the Vikings open against and where?

The NFL seems to be interested in recreating classic matchups in Week 1, starting with that Bears-Packers game. So what’s the classic matchup for the Vikings? No, it’s not the Lions. The guess here is the Vikings will get a rematch of the fourth Super Bowl and play in Kansas City. The Vikings have opened the past two years at home so going on the road makes sense. Watching Mike Zimmer’s defense go against Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes would be great fun.

Who will the Vikings close against and where?

The NFL has shown before that it will send the Vikings to Lambeau Field late in the season so why not do it again in Week 17? It would give Minnesota a game against a division foe in the final week and, for once, that wouldn’t be against the Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings have closed against Chicago at home the past three years.

Game I’m looking forward to the most

There are a few good choices, but a home game on Thanksgiving night would be great fun. The Vikings have never played host to a Thanksgiving game and there would be plenty of storylines in this rematch of the 2017 NFC title game.

Opponent that will take the biggest step forward

There’s always a team on the schedule that you expect won’t be that good and ends up being a tough opponent. Unfortunately for the Vikings, my guess is that team will be the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers has heard plenty of criticism this offseason and with coach Matt LaFleur installing a new offense it’s not going to be surprising if the Packers rebound from a disappointing season that got coach Mike McCarthy fired.

Opponent that will take the biggest step back

There’s also a team on each schedule that you expect will be very good and proves to be a disappointment. So who will that be? How about the Los Angeles Chargers, who went 12-4 this past season and made it to the divisional playoffs before being blown out in New England. The Chargers are led by 37-year-old quarterback Philip Rivers. At some point you would think Rivers is going to lose his touch. The Vikings wouldn’t mind if that happens this season.