Minnesota Vikings Schedule and Predictions
Coming off a 10-win season and a playoff berth in three of the last five years, the Minnesota Vikings have a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the 2020 season. Whenever fans are allowed to attend games at the magnificent US Bank Stadium, Vikings ticket prices are bound to be a little high, largely because Minnesota fans think the team has a chance to be something special this season. Of course, it’s all going to boil down to the team’s schedule. The Vikings will play six games against teams that went to the playoffs last season, with most of those games coming early in the season. Let’s take a closer look at the Vikings schedule for the 2020 season and make some predictions for how things will play out in Minnesota this year.
The Early Stretch
The early part of Minnesota’s schedule is by far the most challenging part for the Vikings in 2020. They will play teams that made the playoffs last season in four of the first five weeks of the season. It starts with a home game against the Packers in Week 1. Every game between these NFC North rivals is a tossup regardless of what team is playing at home. Don’t forget these teams have played to a tie twice in the last seven years. The Vikings will also be eager for redemption after getting swept by the Packers last season.
In Week 2, the Vikings play on the road against the Colts, who are in a better position to succeed this year with Philip Rivers at quarterback. The Vikings then play three straight games against 2019 playoff teams. That stretch includes a home game with the Titans in Week 3 followed by road games against the Texans and Seahawks. That means the Minnesota defense will be matched up against two elite quarterbacks in Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson, respectively. Before getting a bye in Week 7, the early part of Minnesota’s schedule concludes with a home game against the Falcons, who played well late in 2019 despite finishing with a losing season.
The Vikings will return from their bye week with three straight games against their NFC North rivals. First up is the rematch with the Packers in Week 8. Obviously, going to Lambeau Field is never easy, but doing so on November 1 is probably better than doing so on December 1. That is followed by a home game against the Lions in Week 9 and a Monday night road game against the Bears in Week 10. Of course, every game within the division is important, but these three games could carry extra importance if the Vikings stumble early in the year. Minnesota could easily be .500 or below coming out of the bye week, giving them some urgency in Weeks 8, 9, and 10.
After a Monday night game in Chicago in Week 10, the Vikings will enjoy a rare three-game homestand to close out November and begin December. During that stretch, Minnesota will face the Cowboys, Panthers, and Jaguars. Based on last year’s results, these are three games the Vikings should expect to win. However, the Cowboys and Panthers, in particular, could be poised for a significant improvement in 2020.
Naturally, following a three-game homestand, the Vikings will have to play three of their final four games on the road. This stretch begins with a Week 14 trip to Tampa Bay to play Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. In Week 15, the Vikings will play their final home game of the season, a rematch of their Week 10 game with the Bears. The Vikings will then have a quick turnaround before playing against the Saints on Christmas Day, which falls on a Friday this year. Needless to say, New Orleans will be looking for revenge after Minnesota knocked the Saints out of the playoffs last year. Finally, the Vikings close out the 2020 regular season with a Week 17 road game against the Lions.
Vikings Dig A Hole
As mentioned, Minnesota’s schedule early in the season is one of the toughest in the NFL. Most teams aren’t going to play four of their first five games against teams that made the playoffs the previous year. Moreover, the Vikings will face several elite quarterbacks over the first six weeks of the season. In addition to Watson, Rivers, and Wilson, Minnesota’s defense will face Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan, both former MVPs. This is a problem for the Vikings, especially considering the turnover on the defense over the offseason. The likes of Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes, and Trae Waynes are no longer with the team, making the Vikings young and inexperienced in some spots, especially the secondary. That will lead to the Vikings starting the season 2-4, digging themselves an early hole.
Things Get Interesting
Fear not, Vikings fans, as the team will start to get it together during the middle of the season. Between Week 9 and Week 13, the Vikings play four games at home, all against teams they should be able to beat. By this point in the season, the defense should start to improve, as the bye week will come at a good time for them. Meanwhile, quarterback Kirk Cousins and the offense start to find a rhythm in Week 9 and build off that. Look for the Vikings to put together a nice winning streak in the middle of the season, putting themselves in the thick of the playoff race heading down the stretch.