The Vikings Made a Weird ‘Worst’ List

Harrison Smith
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings 2023 schedule was published last week, featuring nine away games, eight at home, five primetime showdowns, and two matchups against teams that played in Super Bowl LVII.

Here’s the full menu:

  • Week 1: Buccaneers (9/10)
  • Week 2: at Eagles (9/14, TNF)
  • Week 3: Chargers (9/24)
  • Week 4: at Panthers (10/1)
  • Week 5: Chiefs (10/8)
  • Week 6: at Bears (10/15)
  • Week 7: 49ers (10/23, MNF)
  • Week 8: at Packers (10/29)
  • Week 9: at Falcons (11/5)
  • Week 10: Saints (11/12)
  • Week 11: at Broncos (11/19, SNF)
  • Week 12: Bears (11/27, MNF)
  • Week 13: BYE
  • Week 14: at Raiders (12/10)
  • Week 15: at Bengals (TBD)
  • Week 16: Lions (12/24)
  • Week 17: Packers (12/31, SNF)
  • Week 18: at Lions (1/7)
    Home Games in Red

The Vikings Made a Weird ‘Worst’ List

And according to Sporting News, one of the Vikings contests is among the worst primetime NFL scheduling has to offer. SN’s Bill Bender opined on the league’s best and worst primetime games in 2023, and the Vikings at Broncos in Week 11 made the naughty list.

The Vikings Made a
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota has five games under the lights at night, and at the Broncos tryst is evidently underwhelming. Bender explained, “Which narrative about a 34-year-old quarterback do you want to hear all night? Door No. 1 features Kirk Cousins’ record in primetime games. Door No. 2 features the relationship between Sean Payton and Russell Wilson. Who knows where that will be by Week 11? This feels like a close, low-scoring, ugly game where one of these quarterbacks leads a drive for a walk-off field goal.”

Nominating Cousins in primetime as a less-than-appetizing event is predictable. Cousins’ Vikings are a .500 football team in such games since the start of 2019, and in fact, Minnesota’s problem in primetime far exceeds Cousins’ tenure with the club. From 2000 to 2017 — so, 18 seasons before Cousins — the Vikings fired up a 21-31 (.404) record at night, or the 12th-worst mark in the NFL. Still, Cousins foots the bill with anything rotten regarding primetime.

The Vikings National
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

On Bender’s blah primetime list, these games accompanied Broncos-Vikings:

  • Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (Week 1)
  • Chicago Bears at Washington Commanders (Week 5)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars at New Orleans Saints (Week 7)
  • Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 9)

The Vikings and Broncos meet at least once every four years, but it’s virtually never in primetime. Minnesota will see its old pal Sean Payton for the first time since Christmas Day 2020 when his Saints crushed the Vikings on national television.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota and Denver haven’t played in primetime since 1991, a game featuring quarterbacks Wade Wilson and John Elway.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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