The Weirdest Part of the Vikings 2023 Schedule

Dec 13, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) celebrates as he makes sack on Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) (not pictured) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Also pictured: Garrett Bradbury. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 Minnesota Vikings won’t quite encounter a 17-game schedule like the 2022 Minnesota Vikings.

Last year, Minnesota enjoyed nine home games, seven on the road, and a neutral-site affair with the New Orleans Saints in London.

The Weirdest Part of the Vikings 2023 Schedule

This year’s edition is more difficult, rest assured, as the Vikings play a first-place schedule for the first time since 2018. And while the schedule isn’t overly fun, the weirdest part of the 2023 schedule is this: the easiest game occurs right away.

Tampa Bay Right Away

Weirdest Part of
Jan 1, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) congratulates wide receiver Mike Evans (13) after scoring a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports.

Have a look at the Vikings 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)

Which game above is an easier task, on paper, than Week 1 against the Buccaneers? Are there any?

Probably not. Somehow, the Vikings receive their least difficult test right away, a menu item with pros and cons. The Buccaneers aren’t terrible — they’re basically the same team without Tom Brady — but few other games on the VIkings schedule appear ‘easier’ than Week 1 for Minnesota.

QB Murderer’s Row

Feb 15, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates toward the fans during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl parade. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

After the Buccaneers are in the rearview, the Vikings eventually play Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, and Justin Fields twice (if Fields is any good), among others like Derek Carr and Jared Goff (twice).

We shall see what happens with the Carolina Panthers, but the Buccaneers might be the only team Minnesota plays that has a true-blue quarterback battle ongoing this summer.

Ergo, the Vikings must take care of business versus Tampa Bay on September 10th because the road gets rockier — like immediately — following Minnesota’s showdown with the swashbucklers.

Other ‘Easy’ Games Not So Easy

May 12, 2023; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Bijan Robinson (7) shown during rookie camp at IBM Performance Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

Not every Vikings game is an impossible endeavor. But when one scans the schedule for ‘gimmes,’ the assignment isn’t breezy. The Chicago Bears may not be very good — but they always seem to play the Vikings tough, no matter what.

The Atlanta Falcons are led by Desmond Ridder, yet Atlanta’s offense will employ Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and Bijan Robinson. The Vikings travel to Charlotte for a date with Adam Thielen’s Panthers, but what if Bryce Young is the real deal immediately?

On the whole, Tampa Bay appears to be the only Vikings game in 2023 that doesn’t have some element of treachery, superstar quarterback play, or up-and-coming quarterback.

So don’t look now, but the Vikings already have a must-win ordeal in Week 1.

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).

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