Note: This article originally appeared on our sister-site, PurplePTSD.com.
Sending disclaimers to the heavens and beyond — droves of changes can occur between the initial release of the NFL schedule and the Minnesota Vikings final four games of 2021.
— VikingNations (@VikingNations) May 13, 2021
The Vikings will face off with NFC teams at Chicago, versus the Los Angeles Rams, at Green Bay, and then back home to finish out the year versus the Bears.
If those four squads have any semblance to their current roster and makeup in December — especially if Aaron Rodgers reverses course and returns to Wisconsin — then the Vikings will battle December and January maladies. The “saving grace” to this theory involves Chicago. Should the Bears remain committed to an average version of Andy Dalton, the two Chicago matchups shouldn’t be deadly. Yet, that is largely unknown at the moment.
Chicago Bears x2
Minnesota will face these foes twice — and each time that should induce eye rolls. No matter how good the Vikings are in a given season — and no matter how good the Bears are in a given season — each team plays to the level of the other when the teams meet up. This is particularly true at Soldier Field. Games at Soldier always have the same gritty, sloppy vibes, even if one team is clearly outpacing the other in the standings.
So, Minnesota gets to experience Chicago-style slopfests twice. Thankfully, head coach Mike Zimmer gets the away edition out of the way sooner than later, pitting his team against the Bears on Monday night football on December 20. Encouragingly, the Vikings have topped the Bears on Monday Night Football at Soldier Field two times in a row (2017 and 2020).
The Bears defense will be stellar, weird things will shakedown in both games, and the two teams will spar in a matchup mixed with oddities and grimaces — that’s Vikings-Bears football.
The true kicker is whether or not Justin Fields is granted QB1 duty — and if he storms out of the gate. Minnesota should never be too afraid of Andy Dalton.
Los Angeles Rams
Because Matthew Stafford plays for the Rams now, this foursome of season-finishing games feels like a straight NFC North tryst. However, Stafford currently plays for the Rams — an organization universally known as superior to the Detroit Lions.
Minnesota knows Stafford, and the 33-year-old has never posed too much of a consistent challenge to the Vikings. When he brings 52 other Rams-men led by Sean McVay, though, the storyline morphs. Los Angeles stuffs its roster full of veteran players annually, absolutely refusing to stockpile 1st-Round draft talent.
If this Stafford trial works for McVay, well, the Vikings might encounter a team jelling late in the season with a 10-5 or 11-4 or so record. Yuck.
Green Bay Packers
This border-lines on “duh” territory. Minnesota will visit the Cheesemen during the second-to-last week of the 2021 season. That’s right, a road matchup against the primary rival in primetime. If Aaron Rodgers is employed by the Packers, this meeting is daunting. Perhaps Mr. Rodgers will play for the Denver Broncos or Las Vegas Raiders — then this game is against Jordan Love or Blake Bortles. Relief sets in.
Zimmer took charge of the franchise in 2014. From that moment on, the Vikings are 11-12 (.478) in primetime games. That is the 17th-best primetime win percentage during the timeframe. Dribble in a little Rodgers into the mix with late-season stakes ablaze, some cold weather, and this matchup doesn’t invigorate optimism.