Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Closer Look at the Vikings' 2018 Schedule

The Vikings' schedule has been released and Daniel House analyzed what the matchups have to offer.

The NFL released the complete schedule Thursday night, setting the Vikings' travel arrangements for 2018. Minnesota will play the AFC East and NFC West this year to go along with their NFC North schedule. 

Schedule Notes:

- The Vikings will have the second-most difficult road schedule based upon 2017 opponent record. Minnesota's road opponents posted a combined 72-56 record last year.

- This year's schedule is ranked eighth in terms of strength of schedule as teams posted a 0.520 winning percentage last season. The rival Packers have the toughest slate in the league with a 0.539 opponent winning percentage.

Of course, teams change so much each year, so take strength of schedule statistics for what they're worth.

2018 Vikings Schedule:

Week 1- Sept. 9: San Francisco- 12 p.m. CT
- Jimmy Garoppolo comes to town to square off with Kirk Cousins in his first game in purple. Former Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon will also make his return to Minnesota.

Week 2- Sept. 16: @ Green Bay- 12 p.m. CT
- The Vikings will travel to take on their rival for a rare early September matchup at Lambeau Field. It's the first time the teams will meet in September at Green Bay since 2008. It's just the third time it's happened in the past 18 years.

Week 3- Sep. 23: Buffalo- 12 p.m. CT
- In the first AFC East game of the season, the Bills will travel to Minneapolis. Bills Mafia will be present in the tailgate lots....

Week 4- Sep. 27: @ LA Rams- 7:20 p.m. CT- (Thursday Night Football)
- With an injected roster, the Vikings will travel to Los Angeles for a Thursday night showdown with Jared Goff and the Rams. Minnesota will have ten days to prepare for a trip to Philadelphia.

Week 5- Oct. 7: @ Philadelphia- 3:25 p.m. CT
- The league elected to slot the Eagles-Vikings battle a few weeks later, rather than opening the season with an NFC Championship rematch.

Week 6- Oct. 14- Arizona- 12 p.m. CT
- The first of two games against "Birds: this year as Sam Bradford leads the Cardinals to Minneapolis.  It also could be wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald's final trip to his home state.

Week 7- Oct. 22- @ Jets- 12 p.m. CT
- A trip to the Big Apple might be a matchup against a rookie quarterback as the Jets hold a top-pick.

Week 8- Oct. 29: New Orleans- 7:20 p.m. CT (Sunday Night Football)
- Well, we'll see if this game can live up to last year's playoff matchup. That's a pretty high bar to set.

Week 9- Nov. 4: Detroit Lions- 12 p.m. CT 
- Will the Vikings manage to end a yearly struggle with the Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium?

Week 10- Nov. 11: BYE

Week 11- Nov. 18: @ Chicago- 12 p.m. CT
- Last year, the Vikings had a close call against the Bears on Monday Night Football. Every game at Solider Field is certainly a challenge.

Week 12- Nov. 25: Green Bay- 7:20 p.m. CT- (Sunday Night Football)
- For the first time since 2015, the Packers will travel to Minneapolis in the second half of the season. It could be a major game to shape the entire NFC North landscape.

Week 13- Dec. 2: @ New England- 3:25 p.m. CT
- The Vikings will visit Tom Brady and Bill Belichick at Gillette Stadium for the first time since 2010.  

Week 14- Dec. 10: @ Seattle- 7:15 p.m. CT (Monday Night Football)
- The Seahawks' roster will look very different in 2018, but Russell Wilson is still at the helm. CenturyLink Field isn't an easy place to play, either.

Week 15- Dec. 16: Miami Dolphins- 12 p.m. CT
- A young Dolphins team will arrive to Minneapolis for a mid-December game. Perhaps a rookie quarterback will be taking over by then?

Week 16- Dec. 23: @ Detroit- 12 p.m. CT
- The Vikings won't play the Lions on Thanksgiving for a third consecutive year. This time, it's a late season divisional game.

Week 17- Dec. 30: Chicago- 12 p.m. CT
- This is the fourth straight season the Vikings will host the Bears in late December. Maybe Chicago will improve this year...

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