The Vikings Schedule Is ‘Advantage Good Guys’

Kevin O'Connell
Kevin O'Connell

The full schedule for the NFL season is out, and the nerds are breaking it all down. I mean nerds in the nicest possible way. The analytics crowd provides us with a great insight into how things are likely to play out.

They do this with draft picks, draft trades, game to game, play to play, and so much more. It truly is fascinating to look at the probability analysis, even for a guy like me that can’t do the math. Today, Tom Bliss posted the analysis of wins added based on strength of schedule, rest, travel, etc., for all 32 teams.

At first glance, all I have to say is wow. The Vikings seem to have one of the toughest schedules every year. This year appears to be no different.

However, current rankings have the Vikings ranked with the 16th most difficult schedule. When evaluating the teams that Minnesota is scheduled to play, I find this hard to believe. It is very likely by the end of the year they will have one of the most challenging schedules yet again.

The reasoning for this is some of the teams they play have had an excellent off-season. Some of those teams include the Dolphins and the Eagles. Nevertheless, the Vikings are predicted to have the 7th best wins added after adjusting for home field and schedule advantages.

Nov 21, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

However, it is important to note the oddsmakers have the Vikings’ win total over/under set at 8.5. Therefore, the added 0.19 only gets them slightly closer to a 9-win season.

When Will Vikings Have an Advantage

At this time of year, most fans look at the schedule and roster with rose-colored glasses. Honestly, for us Vikings fans, it is the only way we can cope with the inevitable heartbreak. Nonetheless, we move forward in hopes of securing a spot in the playoffs and making a run to the Super Bowl.

That being said, there are a few games on the schedule that appear to be an advantage to the Vikings. Here are a few that stick out:

  1. Packers at Vikings in week 1. Ok, I am not saying the Vikings will win this game. After all, Aaron Rodgers is still wearing a Packers uniform. However, the Vikings are installing a brand new offense and defensive scheme. The Packers have never faced this look from the Vikings, and it is at US Bank Stadium.
  2. Cardinals at Vikings in week 8. We all remember the game in 2021 where Kyler Murray seemed to do the impossible on every play. This inevitably led to a loss. However, this time the Cardinals will be at US Bank Stadium, and the Vikings will be coming fresh off their Bye Week. Hopefully, Kevin O’Connell will have this team prepared in ways that Zimmer couldn’t.
  3. Patriots at Vikings on Thanksgiving Day. This is an odd one to give the Vikings an advantage too. Every time the Vikings play the Patriots, Belichick always seems to out coach us. Although, this isn’t the Zimmer Vikings anymore. Besides, it is a short week for both teams, and it is once again a home game. Typically, short weeks give a little extra boost to the home team.

Out of all the games on this year’s schedule, these three games will likely play a significant role in whether or not the Vikings make the playoffs. I am giving the Vikings the edge in all three of these games. Although no game is ever easy to win in the NFL, if they can win these three, I like their odds of making the playoffs.

Hopefully, Kevin O’Connell will have this group of guys ready to play lights out.

Mitch Massman is a life-long Vikings fan. His first heartbreak was the 1998 NFC championship game. His full-time job is as an economic development professional in rural Minnesota. He fantasizes about the Vikings winning a Super Bowl one day, but until then he will write about the Vikings. Follow him on Twitter @skol_vikings3