While advertisers who purchased inventory for the NFL Network’s primetime schedule reveal may not be pleased, the NFL schedule slowly leaked from various sources Thursday afternoon, giving us a fairly clear picture of the Minnesota Vikings 2017 slate. The team filled in the remaining blanks Thursday at 7 p.m.
Here’s the Vikings schedule in its entirety.
Week 1: vs New Orleans (MNF)
Week 2: @ Pittsburgh
Week 3: vs Tampa Bay
Week 4: vs Lions
Week 5: @ Chicago (MNF)
Week 6: vs Green Bay
Week 7: vs Baltimore
Week 8: @ Cleveland (London)
Week 9: Bye
Week 10: @ Redskins
Week 11: vs Rams
Week 12: @ Detroit (Thanksgiving)
Week 13: @ Atlanta
Week 14: @ Carolina
Week 15: vs Bengals
Week 16: @ Green Bay (Saturday)
Week 17: vs Chicago
There’s a lot to unpack here.
- The Vikings open the season on ESPN for the second time in three years. They’re also beginning at home for the first time since 2012, when they beat the Jaguars in overtime. The last time they opened the year against the Saints, it was 2010 at the Superdome, where they lost 14-9 to open Brett Favre’s second season with the Vikings. If the Saints were to sign Adrian Peterson, who visited New Orleans last week, this matchup would become all the more intriguing.
- Minnesota gets a bye week smack dab in the middle of the season. Hard to complain with that. The Vikings got an early bye in Week 6 last year, and fans know how it went thereafter. This bye comes the week after a roadtrip to London, where the Vikings will play the Cleveland Browns. Because it will technically be a home game for the Browns, Minnesota benefits from essentially having one of its road games neutralized, since it’s unlikely a London crowd will have the same pro-Browns enthusiasm as it would in Cleveland.
- There are many similarities between this year’s schedule and last year’s schedule. The Vikings play at Soldier Field on Monday Night Football as they did on Halloween Night last October. They play at Detroit on Thanksgiving, where they lost a heartbreaker a year ago. The team also finishes the season in identical fashion with games at Green Bay in Week 16 and home versus Chicago to end the season.
- The Vikings only play two true road games in the first half of the season (albeit with a trip to London mixed in). As a result, they’ll be punished with a three-game road swing to Detroit, Atlanta and Carolina in Weeks 12-14, which may be the toughest stretch of the season.
- There only appears to be one cold-weather game on the schedule: Vikings at Packers on Dec. 23.
- Mike Zimmer will finally face his former team in a regular season game when the Vikings host the Bengals in Week 15.
- Minnesota plays three night games (Week 1, Week 5 and Week 16), as well as a game in London that starts at 8:30 a.m. locally.