Vikings Have a Chance to Explode Out of the Gate

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One NFL team is forecasted to win fewer games than the 2023 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That’s the Arizona Cardinals, a club likely without the services of their QB1 Kyler Murray to start the season.

Vikings Have a Chance to Explode Out of the Gate

After Arizona, six franchises are theorized by oddsmakers as the league’s second-worst team, at least according to win-loss over-unders. These teams are scheduled for 6.5 wins, the second-lowest total(s) in the sport:

  • Houston Texans
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Las Vegas Raiders
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Washington Commanders

Those teams should be perceived as frontrunners in the evolving Caleb Williams sweepstakes, and wouldn’t you know it? The Minnesota Vikings play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 to start the regular season.

Chance to Explode
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Minnesota isn’t necessarily on tap to barnstorm the league for a Super Bowl chip; sportsbooks believe the Vikings will win 8.5 games this season. Regarding the schedule, though, it gets no easier for the purple team than the Buccaneers in Week 1.

Here’s the Vikings 2023 schedule. Home games are in red:

  • 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)
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports.

Find a game less difficult than the Buccaneers opener. On paper, it’s a daunting task. Sharp Football Analysis called Tampa Bay the NFL’s second-worst team (behind the Cardinals) this week. The Vikings then don’t play any teams in the lower bowl of the league until December — at Las Vegas.

Sharp’s Raymond Summerlin wrote about the Buccaneers 31st ranking, “Tampa’s roster is better than this ranking, but the quarterback situation is impossible to overlook. Baker Mayfield was one of the worst quarterbacks in the league last season, even in his ‘better’ run with the Rams. Maybe Kyle Trask steps up and seizes the opportunity, but that feels like more of a wish than an expectation.”

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Minnesota will play one of the only teams in the sport currently amid a preseason QB1 battle. And that franchise lost these popular players this offseason:

  • Tom Brady (QB)
  • Mike Edwards (S)
  • Leonard Fournette (RB)
  • Akiem Hicks (DL)
  • Julio Jones (WR)
  • Shaq Mason (OG)
  • Sean Murphy-Bunting (CB)
  • Carl Nassib (EDGE)
  • Rakeem Nunez-Roches (DT)
  • Donovan Smith (LT)
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings haven’t defeated a team by 17 or more points since December 2019. If they plan to snap that streak in 2023 — it’s long overdue — the best chance is to explode out of the gate, at home, versus Tampa Bay. A Mayfield-Trask sandwich is probably the easiest quarterback docket in the modern NFL to size up leading into a season.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by