1 Thing the Vikings Avoid with 2023 Schedule

Vikings May Have First
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings hope to stave off regression fears in 2023 after a fancy 13-4 season under first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell in 2022. The club somehow won 13 games last year despite an underwater point differential.

Minnesota’s schedule arrived Thursday, and here’s the agenda for autumn:

  • 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

1 Thing the Vikings Avoid with 2023 Schedule

And if one examines the schedule with a fine-toothed comb, one thing is missing — cold weather games.

the Vikings Avoid
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell looks on during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

Put simply — there are none. At Cincinnati on December 16th or 17th could be chilly, but that’s more likely in the 40-50 degree range, temperatures not considered cold by most Minnesotans. Normally in a regular season, the Vikings will play one or two cold-weather games, and those usually occur at Green Bay or Chicago.

Of course, the Vikings elected about a decade ago to construct an indoor stadium, disqualifying any cold homefield advantage with U.S. Bank Stadium. Still, the NFL schedule tends to plop the club in cold climates at least once yearly.

5 Vikings Players Who
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) reacts after being short of yardage against Chicago Bears during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Connell’s team plays at Denver right before Thanksgiving, and a chill could exist in the air. But again — nothing quite like Green Bay in late December or early January. Home games against the Detroit Lions and Packers in Weeks 16 and 17 eliminate any cold-weather festivities, while traveling to Detroit to end the season allows for a Week 18 tryst indoors.

Moreover, the Vikings get the Lambeau Field game “out of the way” before Halloween. Like Minnesotan’s Halloweens, that contest could be chilled but probably won’t mimic Christmas-time temperatures.

Getting His Madden
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) runs after a catch during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

Finally, the not-cold-weather away games: at Philadelphia in September, at Carolina to start October, at Chicago two weeks later, at Atlanta (rarely cold ever), and at Las Vegas two weeks before Yuletide.

There’s really no rhyme or reason for no-cold; just a jumble of chance that alleviates frigid temperatures, aside from whatever weather the city of Cincinnati has in mind for December 16th or 17th.

Per opponents’ wins and losses in 2022, Minnesota has the league’s 15th-easiest schedule — near the middle of the pack.

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).

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