Predicting the Vikings’ 2021 17th Opponent & Strength of Schedule

NFL Logo on Goal Post (Photo by Rick Osentoski / AP file_

Strength of schedule is often important in many team sports around the world but it is perhaps most important in the National Football League. One of the many reasons why it is vital in the NFL is due to the year-to-year parity that exists in the league. You never really know how difficult an opponent on the schedule will be until your team is within a week-or-two from that game.

In the NFL, the strength of schedule is the combined record of all teams in a schedule and it can be used as a secondary tie-breaker for divisional rankings and playoff qualification. With that in mind, let us take a closer look at the Minnesota Vikings’ 2021 opponents and strength of schedule.

The Minnesota Vikings obviously had a disappointing 2020 season and will be hoping to improve in the upcoming season despite some gigantic questions needing to be answered in 2021.

In terms of the schedule, though, the Vikings will obviously play the regular six games against the NFC North, against the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, and Green Bay Packers. As per usual, they will play each of the three teams at home and on the road during the 2021 campaign, so there is nothing out of the ordinary in that respect (even with the planned expansion to 17-games in 2021 (which still seems to be a work in process) as we will discuss below).

In addition to the games above, the NFC North will compete against the NFC West and AFC North for eight games plus the Vikings will meet Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers from the NFC East and NFC South, respectively. These are the two teams that finished in third place in the NFC East and NFC South, matching the finishing position of the Vikings in the NFC North last season.

That completes the regular 16 game schedule for Minnesota Vikings but the NFL is expected to introduce a 17th regular season game for all teams in 2021. At the time of writing, this is yet to be confirmed but if the 17th regular season game was introduced it will be an interconference game based on standings on a rotational basis.

Using this information, it is possible to determine that the 17th game for the Vikings will be against Los Angeles Chargers, should the plan go ahead, but as the bookmakers over at, things rarely go right in the unpredictable nature of the best league in the world!

In terms of the strength of schedule, unfortunately for the Vikings, they will have one of the toughest schedules of any team in the 2021 season AGAIN. In fact, the Vikings’ 2021 strength of schedule ranks as the sixth-toughest in the league and the third-toughest in the NFC East and NFC North.

One of the reasons why the Vikings’ 2021 strength of schedule is so tough is because they play the Ravens, Browns, and Steelers, who combined to win 34 of their 48 games. In addition, the Vikings will play nine games against teams that made the playoffs in 2020, which is going to be a big ask for the Vikings.

Looking specifically at their home schedule, the Vikings have the second-toughest schedule in the whole league. However, on the road the Vikings have things a little easier, as they will play only three teams who made the playoffs last season. So, it appears as though the Vikings could be in for a tough 2021 season in the NFL.