Vikings Will Have to Trudge through Hell with Season on the Line

Sep 29, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears inside linebacker Danny Trevathan (59) tackles Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports.

The 2022 Minnesota Vikings embark on the NFL’s 13th-easiest schedule per opponents’ 2021 wins and losses, but the tail end of the docket isn’t friendly.

On Thursday night, the NFL [finally] released the 2022 schedule, and the Vikings kick off the campaign at home against the Green Bay Packers. Here’s the full schedule with dates and weeks:

  • 9/11 – Green Bay Packers (W1)
  • 9/19 – at Philadelphia Eagles (MNF) (W2)
  • 9/25 – Detroit Lions (W3)
  • 10/2 – at New Orleans Saints (London) (W4)
  • 10/9 – Chicago Bears (W5)
  • 10/16 – at Miami Dolphins (W6)
  • Week 7: BYE
  • 10/30 – Arizona Cardinals (W8)
  • 11/6 – at Washington Commanders (W9)
  • 11/13 – at Buffalo Bills (W10)
  • 11/20 – Dallas Cowboys (W11)
  • 11/24 – New England Patriots (Thanksgiving) (W12)
  • 12/4 – New York Jets (W13)
  • 12/11 –  at Detroit Lions (W14)
  • 12/17 or 12/18 – Indianapolis Colts (W15)
  • 12/24 – New York Giants (Christmas Eve) (W16)
  • 1/1/23 – at Green Bay Packers (New Year’s Day) (W17)
  • 1/8/23 – at Chicago Bears (W18)

The 2021 schedule, at this point on the calendar last year, looked significantly more daunting than this year. And that’s chiefly because Minnesota has nine home games, seven road games, and one neutral site showdown in Europe with the Saints in 2022.

Regardless of ease or difficulty, the Vikings final two games are hellish — on the road versus the organization’s two bitterest rivals.

Aaron Rodgers and D.J. Wonnum
Nov 1, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is hit by Minnesota Vikings defensive end D.J. Wonnum. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers/Appleton Post-Crescent via USA TODAY NETWORK.

Since 2010, the Vikings are 7-16-2 (.320) at Lambeau Field and Soldier Field. For an otherwise sturdy franchise in the Vikings, winning one of three tries at those venues is a crummy habit.

The 7-16-2 record was thanks to a threesome of former head coaches, Brad Childress, Leslie Frazier, and Mike Zimmer. Now, though, Minnesota hired Kevin O’Connell from the Los Angeles Rams to boost the team from recent mediocrity. The Vikings were a defensive force to be reckoned with from 2015 to 2019, but sooner after, Zimmer’s defense expired, and the team accordingly settled for a 15-18 record amid the last two seasons.

Insert O’Connell — who gets to finish his maiden voyage on the road at places where the Vikings historically struggle.

Thankfully for O’Connell’s sake, the Vikings have won three of the last four games at those stadiums. And the one loss was in January when quarterback Kirk Cousins missed the contest with the coronavirus versus the Packers. So, as of late, the Vikings have trended upward in this regard.

Snap Reactions after Packers-Vikings
Jan 2, 2022; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker Rashan Gary (52) sacks Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sean Mannion. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports.

Still, Minnesota will trudge through Hell — especially if the playoffs are on the line — to wrap up the 2022 campaign.

Plus, the road twosome is unprecedented. The Vikings have never finished a season with back-to-back road games against the Packers and Bears.

A new era, indeed.

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).