Vikings Say ‘No Thanks’ to Common NFL Trend

5 Areas the Vikings Can Still Look to Improve 
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O'Connell

Most NFL teams prefer a bye week after an international game, allowing time for rest, recharge, and strategy before resuming play in the United States.

The 2022 Minnesota Vikings are not one of them.

The Vikings travel to London in Week 4 for a date with New Orleans Saints, a battle of to-date England unbeatens. Minnesota was triumphant in London during the 2013 and 2017 seasons, whereas New Orleans knocked off the Los Angeles Chargers in 2008 and the Miami Dolphins in 2017. One team will continue the streak on October 2nd.

Before the 2022 schedule release, 21 of the last 22 teams venturing to London had a bye the week after the England game. The lone exception was the 2021 Dolphins, pushing the bye week later into the season.

This is evidently a trend as the Vikings requested the same treatment for the upcoming season. Instead of a customary Week 5 bye, Minnesota said “no thanks” and will enjoy a bye week in Week 7.

According to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell shed light on the preference:

The Vikings flat-out didn’t want an early bye week. They’re increasingly taboo in the NFL.

The Saints even parlayed the sentiment into a bye seven weeks later than the Vikings, taking time off in Week 14. The rationale? It’s better for players to rest and heal down the stretch of a season rather than out of the gate. Depending on one’s point of view, games become more impactful in November, December, and January, so nurturing players to health and “taking a break” before the playoff seeding is situated feels advantageous.

Oct 17, 2021; London, England, United Kingdom. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports.

Of course, games in September and October are just as important per wins and losses, but the element of momentum isn’t as vivid in the first two months of the season. Teams can clear heads and recover from injury late in the season in order to make a last-minute playoff push — is the mindset.

In the last 10 seasons, the Vikings are 3-7 (.300) in games directly after bye weeks.

Minnesota hosts Arizona after the 2022 bye.

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).

Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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