The Vikings, the 6-Time Champs, and Primetime Turkey
Adjust your gathering, travel, and accommodation plans because the Minnesota Vikings are doing something like never before this November.
Minnesota will reportedly host the six-time champion New England Patriots on Thanksgiving night, the ninth Vikings game on Thanksgiving but first-ever at home.
The full NFL schedule releases on Thursday day night, but credible sources have confirmed most of the Vikings opponents beforehand.
While history has been kind to Minnesota on Thanksgiving day — most notably the Randy Moss game in 1998 — the Vikings have putrid luck with the Patriots. Well, the Tom Brady-led versions anyway.
Minnesota hasn’t defeated New England since the 2000 season, incidentally the season before Brady took over as the 19-year-long starter. On that September afternoon at Foxboro Stadium, the Vikings downed the Patriots 21-13 thanks to two touchdown passes from a 23-year-old Daunte Culpepper and a rushing score from Robert Smith. Cris Dishman also intercepted a pass, and Chris Hovan, Bryce Paup, and Orlando Thomas all sacked Drew Bledsoe.
And that was the last time the Vikings beat the Patriots — 22 years ago.
After that, Brady ushered in an era of total dominance over the Vikings — and everyone else not named the Broncos — defeating the Vikings in five straight showdowns. Minnesota hasn’t stayed with one score of New England since the 2002 season.
This time, on Thanksgiving, the Patriots will be led by second-year quarterback Mac Jones, who authored an impressive rookie season in 2021. Bill Belichick is still around, and the Patriots correspondingly maintain one of the NFL’s top defenses even with Brady playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Minnesota last played on Thanksgiving during the almost-storybook 2017 season, outlasting the Lions in Detroit, 30-23.
The NFL expanded the Thanksgiving slate of games to three in 2006, so the Vikings were destined to host a home Turkey game at some point. The time is now.
Dallas and Detroit typically play in the daytime slots, leaving primetime at U.S. Bank Stadium for Kevin O’Connell versus Bill Belichick.
The Vikings are believed to be on tap for a home game in Week 1, too — the Packers on September 11th.
The Patriots lead the historical head-to-head matchup with the Vikings, winning nine times in 13 tries. Conversely, Minnesota is 6-2 (.750) in Thanksgiving games.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).