One Particular Game Would Be Sweet to Start Vikings’ Schedule

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

No matter what, the Minnesota Vikings will host the Atlanta Falcons sometime in 2024.

One Particular Game Would Be Sweet to Start Vikings’ Schedule

The NFL schedule will be released this Thursday, and if the league situated Vikings-Falcons in Week 1 in primetime, well, it would set the tone for 2024.

Kirk Cousins
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Minnesota is not expected to contend for a Super Bowl this season — it just drafted a rookie quarterback 11 days ago — forecasted by sportsbooks to win 7.5 games. Atlanta, on the other, is slated for 9.5 wins, which would likely fetch a playoff appearance and perhaps a division crown. The Falcons haven’t reached the postseason in seven years.

Why should the Vikings host the Falcons out of the gate? Simple. Atlanta signed former Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins on March 13th after the 35-year-old spent six seasons in the Twin Cities. To boost ratings and put a bow on Cousins’ time in Minnesota, the NFL should pit the two clubs against each other to kick off the 2024 party.

kirk cousins
March 13, 2024. Newly signed Atlanta Falcons Quarterback K. Cousins sits down with Falcons Digital Producer Taylor Vismor to discuss his signing with the Falcons. Kirk talks about the exciting playmaking roster he is joining and what a move to Atlanta means to him and his family.

There’s also the tampering storyline. Cousins accidentally admitted during his introductory press conference that he and the Falcons’ brass spoke about a contract before it was allowed. The NFL is investigating the incident and could strip a draft pick from Atlanta. Schedule-makers could capitalize on the friction and run with it.

Meanwhile, for years, a false narrative has claimed Cousins struggles in primetime games. He does not, but fans still believe it and would correspondingly tune in to see if Cousins could perform under the light versus his old squad.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

During Round 1 of the draft, the Falcons shockingly drafted Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. as Cousins’ eventual replacement despite locking Cousins in for four years and $180 million. The move was unforeseen and stunned everyone, including Cousins.

After the Penix Jr. selection, Cousins’ agent, Mike McCartney, revealed via text message: “It was a big surprise. We had no idea this was coming. The truth is the whole league had no idea this was coming. We got no heads up. Kirk got a call from the Falcons when they were on the clock. That was the first we heard. It never came up in any conversation.”

Minnesota 2024 NFL Draft. Watch as QB J.J. McCarthy addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Friday. The Vikings traded up one spot on the draftboard with the New York Jets for McCarthy.

Should Minnesota-Atlanta come to fruition in Week 1, the purple team will likely showcase Sam Darnold at quarterback, as rookie passer J.J. McCarthy probably won’t be rushed into QB1 duties. Therefore, with Darnold manning the ship, Minnesota isn’t perceived as a serious threat, meaning the onus to win in Week 1 would be totally on the Falcons. They’re in it to win it; Minnesota is about a year or two away from Super Bowl contendership, depending on McCarthy’s maturation.

The Vikings are 21-12 (.636) all-time versus Atlanta.

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 MIn 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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