The Minnesota Vikings failed to meet expectations in 2016. After a 2015 season that included a division title and plenty of hope for the future, a 3-8 finish to the 2016 season has many questioning Minnesota’s validity as a playoff-caliber team.
The 2017 season will put those questions to the test and provide the Vikings will the opportunity to prove the doubters wrong.
The official schedule for the upcoming season was released Thursday night. By finishing third in the NFC North in 2016, the Vikings will play the third-toughest slate of all NFC North teams in terms of opponent winning percentage in 2016.
Overall, the Vikings’ 2017 opponents combined for a winning percentage of .453 in 2016, which is the fifth-lowest number in the NFL and the lowest in the NFC North. The Indianapolis Colts have the easiest strength of schedule (.424) and the Denver Broncos will play the toughest slate (.578).
The Green Bay Packers have the toughest strength of schedule in the NFC North (.480), with the Chicago Bears (.479) and Detroit Lions (.469) rounding out the division.
The Vikings will be featured in three primetime games this season, in contrast to last season where they were featured in four. It is not uncommon for teams to see a dip in their number of primetime appearances after a disappointing season.
Below is a look at the official schedule (with primetime games in bold), via the team’s website:
Week 1 | Monday, Sept. 11 | vs. New Orleans Saints | 6:10 PM CDT, ESPN
Week 2 | Sunday, Sept. 17 | at Pittsburgh Steelers | 12:00 PM CDT, FOX
Week 3 | Sunday, Sept. 24 | vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | 12:00 PM CDT, FOX
Week 4 | Sunday, Oct. 1 | vs. Detroit Lions | 12:00 PM CDT, FOX
Week 5 | Monday, Oct. 9 | at Chicago Bears | 7:30 PM CDT, ESPN
Week 6 | Sunday, Oct. 15 | vs. Green Bay Packers | 12:00 PM CDT, FOX
Week 7 | Sunday, Oct. 22 | vs. Baltimore Ravens | 12:00 PM CDT, CBS
Week 8 | Sunday, Oct. 29 | at Cleveland Browns (in London) | 8:30 AM CDT, NFLN
Week 9 | BYE
Week 10 | Sunday, Nov. 12 | at Washington Redskins | 12:00 PM CDT, FOX
Week 11 | Sunday, Nov. 19 | vs. Los Angeles Rams | 12:00 PM CDT, FOX
Week 12 | Thursday, Nov. 23 | at Detroit Lions | 11:30 AM CDT, FOX
Week 13 | Sunday, Dec. 3 | at Atlanta Falcons | 12:00 PM CDT, FOX
Week 14 | Sunday, Dec. 10 | at Carolina Panthers | 12:00 PM CDT, CBS
Week 15 | Sunday, Dec. 17 | vs. Cincinnati Bengals | 12:00 PM CDT, CBS
Week 16 | Saturday, Dec. 23 | at Green Bay Packers | 7:30 PM CDT, NBC
Week 17 | Sunday, Dec. 31 | vs. Chicago Bears | 12:00 PM CDT, FOX
- The Vikings are playing on Thanksgiving for a second consecutive year, which means our favorite holiday (or at least my favorite holiday) of the year will probably be ruined again.
- Minnesota’s final two games of the season are identical to 2016 — a Saturday date at Lambeau Field followed by a home finale against the Bears.
- The Vikings are opening the season at home for the first time since 2012, when Adrian Peterson defied the laws of the human body and scored two touchdowns in a win against Jacksonville just nine months after reconstructive knee surgery.
- Speaking of Adrian Peterson, the Saints have reportedly worked out Peterson and have shown some interest in him. I yearn for that reunion at U.S. Bank Stadium to begin his first season with a different team.
- Another Monday night game at Soldier Field? It’s probably safe to chalk that one up in the loss column.
- The Carolina-Minnesota reunion for Captain Munnerlyn, Charles Johnson, Matt Kalil and Mike Remmers will be in Charlotte on Dec. 10.
- Minnesota will play just once at U.S. Bank Stadium from Week 8 to Week 14, a span of 55 days.
The schedule is finally out, Vikings fans. Let us know your thoughts in the comments! Also, cast your vote in the poll below. How many wins do you see on the Vikings 2017 schedule?