Vikings' first game at U.S. Bank Stadium
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

…Against the Green Bay Packers. According to reports from ESPN’s Rob Demovsky and Ben Goessling, the Minnesota Vikings will host the Packers in a Sunday Night Football matchup on September 9th.

Although many fans speculated the Vikings would open the season in their brand new stadium, it looks as though Minnesota will start 2016 on the road. Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, long a source for Vikings tidbits and breaking news, reported on Twitter that he’d heard “whispers” of the potential Week 2 game a few weeks ago.

The matchup makes perfect sense for both the fans and the respective teams. The Vikings traveled to Lambeau Field in Week 17 last year and defeated the Packers, claiming their first NFC North title since 2009. As Goessling points out, the Vikings also spoiled Green Bay’s return to renovated Lambeau in 2003, defeating the Packers 30-25 in a Week 1 showdown.

Minnesota’s surprising surge to the top of the division and Green Bay’s uncertain future make the rivalry more intriguing than ever. If the Vikings can top the Packers early in the season, much as they did against the Lions in 2015, they’ll give themselves an early jump on a second-straight division crown. To do so at home, in a $1.1 billion stadium, would be that much sweeter for Mike Zimmer and Company.

The Vikings will play their very first game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 3 of the Preseason; a primetime matchup on August 28th against the San Diego Chargers. And in two years, U.S. Bank Stadium will play host to Super Bowl 52. Hopefully, the Vikings have a chance to bring a Super Bowl Championship — the first in franchise history — to Minnesota in 2018.

U.S. Bank Stadium represents the beginning of a new era for the Vikings. It’s the manifestation of Minnesota’s progress and a fitting home for an up-and-coming team with its sights on a Lombardi Trophy.