If Minnesota's next four home games are any indication of how difficult their schedule is this season, then fans might want to buckle up because it could get bumpy.
Tampa Bay, Detroit, Green Bay and Baltimore will be coming to U.S. Bank Stadium over the next five weeks, and none of those games will be easy. Soon after, the Vikings get the Browns in London, followed by a bye week and then five of their final eight games on the road, including a Thanksgiving game in Detroit on short rest.
With the help of some emojis (GoMN is so millennial), I qualified the Vikings' chances each week into three categories.
- - Oh Crap
- - Toss Up
- - Easy Win
I wound up with three , six , and five .
- at Falcons, at Panthers, at Packers
- Bucs, Lions, Packers, Ravens, at Redskins, at Lions
- at Bears, at Browns (London), Rams, Bengals, Bears
If I'm spot on and the Vikings lose all of the games, split the games, and win the games, it would put their final record at 9-7. Things will definitely change with injuries, but right now this schedule looks pretty tough.
Week 3: vs. Tampa Bay (1-0)
The Buccaneers got hurricaned out in Week 1. In Week 2 they put a beating on the Bears, which was to be expected because the Bears flat out stink.
Week 4: vs. Detroit (1-0)
The Lions were trailing the Cardinals until late in Week 1, and that's not promising considering that game was in Detroit and the Cardinals look awful. We'll know a little more about the Lions after they play the Giants tonight.
Week 5: at Chicago (0-2)
Soldier Field is always tricky for Minnesota, but this should be a no doubter this year.
Week 6: vs. Green Bay (1-1)
Will the real Green Bay please stand up? That defense was awesome against the Seahawks, but maybe it was a mirage considering the Falcons carved them up and the Seahawks struggled again in a tight home victory over a very average 49ers team.
Week 7: vs. Baltimore (2-0)
This one looks really tough. Baltimore's defense already has eight interceptions and two fumble takeaways. Their offense isn't great, especially with Danny Woodhead on injured reserve.
Week 8: at Cleveland (0-2) in London
The Browns are still terrible.
Week 9: Bye
Week 10: at Washington (1-1)
After a pass-heavy offense failed to click in a Week 1 loss to the Eagles, Jay Gruden changed the game plan and went with a run-heavy attack against the Rams. The result was a 285-yard day on the ground and a win.
Week 11: vs. Los Angeles Rams (1-1)
They're probably better than most people think, but they'll still be big dogs in Minnesota if the Vikings are healthy.
Week 12: at Detroit (1-0) on Thanksgiving
Short rest + road game + division rival = possible disaster. The Lions will be coming back from a road trip to Chicago.
Week 13: at Atlanta (2-0)
The only thing going in favor of the Vikings this week will be the 10 days rest they'll get after the Thursday game.
Week 14: at Carolina (2-0)
Cam Newton has looked rusty through two weeks and now he's without his favorite target, tight end Greg Olsen, for 6-8 weeks because of a broken foot. But the Panthers are 2-0 because their defense is ranked No. 1 in the NFL.
Week 15: vs. Cincinnati (0-2)
The Bengals haven't scored a touchdown yet. Vikings should crush Mike Zimmer's former employer.
Week 16: at Green Bay (1-1) on Saturday, Dec. 23
Green Bay should almost always be favored to win when they play at home against the Vikings.
Week 17: vs. Chicago (0-2)
An easy win to close out the season.