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2016 Vikings Schedule Icebreakers: Open for Business

The Vikings announced their **regular season schedule** Thursday.

We're breaking it down into groups of four games to break the ice on Minnesota's opponents in the 2016 season.

The first grouping includes the season opener at Tennessee, followed by the first regular season game in U.S. Bank Stadium, which will feature a renewal of the Border Battle against Green Bay on Sunday Night Football.

View images of the Vikings opponents after the 2016 schedule was released on Thursday.

Week 1

Vikings at Titansby @pcraigers

Noon | Sept. 11 | Nissan Stadium

Series results(includes Tennessee's time as Houston Oilers/Tennessee Oilers)

Vikings W-L-T: 8-4-0

Home: 7-1-0; Away: 1-3-0

Last time in regular season:Vikings defeated Titans 30-7 on Oct. 7, 2012* *

Last time in regular season at Tennessee:Vikings lost 30-17 on Sept. 28, 2008

Tennessee's 2015 offensive rankings:

Total yards: 4,988 (30th in NFL); Rushing yards: 1,485 (25th); Passing yards: 3,503 (tied for 25th); Points/game: 18.7 (28th); Sacks allowed/pass play percentage: 9.80 percent (30th); Interception rate: 3.09 percent (28th); Average time of possession: 29:25 (23rd)

Tennessee's 2015 defensive rankings:

Total yards allowed/game: 342.2 (12th); Rushing yards allowed/game: 112.3 (18th); Passing yards allowed/game: 229.9 (7th); Points allowed/game: 26.4 (27th); Sacks/pass play: 7.77 percent (6th); Interception rate: 2.19 percent (18th)

Icebreakers:The Vikings are seeking their second straight win against the Titans. Tennessee hired former Vikings tight end (1983-88) Mike Mularkey as head coach after he finished 2015 as the team's interim leader. … Minnesota's most recent trip to Nashville featured marquee running backs Adrian Peterson (18 carries, 80 yards two touchdowns) and Chris Johnson (17-61-2). CJ2K, however, has since departed, and the Titans brought in 2014 rushing champ DeMarco Murray (392 carries, 1,845 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns in Dallas) after a year in Philadelphia in which Murray had 193 carries, 702 yards and six scores. Peterson is coming off winning his third rushing title (327 carries, 1,485 yards, 11 rushing TDs). Murray will be joined in the backfield by 2015 No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota, who completed 230 of 370 passes for 2,818 yards and 19 touchdowns as a rookie (91.5 passer rating). Mariota's favorite target was Delanie Walker, who finished ninth in the NFL with 94 receptions (most by a tight end) and made the Pro Bowl. … The Vikings signed former Titans safety Michael Griffin this offseason after the 2007 first rounder spent all of his prior seasons with Tennessee. Two of the five wins posted by the Titans in the past two seasons have occurred in season openers.

Week 2

Vikings vs. Packersby @LindseyMNSports

7:30 p.m. | Sept. 18 | U.S. Bank Stadium

Series results

Vikings W-L-T: 50-59-2

Home: 26-28; Away: 24-31-2

Last time in regular season:Vikings defeated Packers 20-13 on Jan. 3, 2016, in Green Bay

Last time in regular season in Minnesota:Vikings lost 30-13 on Nov. 22, 2015

Green Bay's 2015 offensive rankings:

Total yards: 5,353 (23rd in NFL); Rushing yards: 1,850 (12th); Passing yards: 3,503 (tied for 25th); Points/game: 23.0 (15th); Sacks allowed/pass play percentage: 8.20 percent (24th); Interception rate: 1.40 percent (2nd); Average time of possession: 30:08 (tied for 18th)

Green Bay's 2015 defensive rankings:

Total yards allowed/game: 346.7 (15th); Rushing yards allowed/game: 119.1 (21st); Passing yards allowed/game: 227.6 (6th); Points allowed/game: 20.2 (12th); Sacks/pass play: 7.80 percent (5th); Interception rate: 2.90 percent (7th)

Icebreakers:The Vikings are looking to notch a second consecutive win over Green Bay after dethroning the rival team for the NFC North division title in 2015. … Minnesota last won back-to-back games against the Packers in 2008 and 2009. … Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will enter his 12th NFL season after recording 3,821 passing yards (17th in the NFL) and 31 touchdowns in 2015. … WR Jordy Nelson is expected to return to action for Green Bay after missing the entire 2015 season with a knee injury. In 2014, Nelson ranked fourth in the league for receiving yards (1,519) and second for touchdowns (13). … Packers S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix led the team in tackles with 100. … In the final regular-season game of 2015, the Vikings held Packers leading RB Eddie Lacy to just 34 yards and the entire team to just 76 rushing yards.

Week 3

Vikings at Panthers by@EricLSmith

Noon | Sept. 25 | Bank of America Stadium

Series results

Vikings W-L-T: 7-5-0

Home: 6-3; Away: 1-2

Last time in regular season:Vikings defeated Panthers 31-13 on Nov. 30, 2014, in Minnesota

Last time in regular season in Carolina:Panthers defeated Vikings 35-10 on Oct. 13, 2013

Carolina's 2015 offensive rankings:

Total yards: 5,871 (11th in NFL); Rushing yards: 2,282 (2nd); Passing yards: 3,589 (24th); Points/game: 31.3(1st); Sacks allowed/pass play percentage: 6.59 percent (21st); Interception rate: 2.00 percent (13th); Average time of possession: 31:44 (3rd)

Carolina's 2015 defensive rankings:

Total yards allowed/game: 322.9 (6th); Rushing yards allowed/game: 88.4 (4th); Passing yards allowed/game: 234.5 (11th); Points allowed/game: 19.1 (6th); Sacks/pass play: 6.77 percent (14th); Interception rate: 3.69 percent (1st)

Icebreakers:The Panthers are 19-1 in the regular season since the Vikings beat them in November of 2014. … Carolina is led by the reigning NFL MVP in quarterback Cam Newton, who accounted for 4,473 total yards and 45 total touchdowns in 2015. The 2011 No. 1 overall pick led the Panthers to a 15-1 mark, Newton tallied 10 rushing touchdowns, a total that bested 13 teams last season. … The defending NFC champ's defense also packs a heavy punch behind defensive tackle Kawann Short (11 sacks), linebacker Luke Kuechly (118 total tackles) and cornerback Josh Norman (four interceptions). … The Vikings won't see Carolina defensive end Jared Allen as the former Minnesota fan favorite **retired this offseason**. … Carolina was plus-20 in turnover differential in 2015, the best mark in the league.

Week 4

Vikings vs. Giants by@EricLSmith

7:30 p.m. | Oct. 3 | U.S. Bank Stadium

Series results

Vikings W-L-T: 15-12-0

Home: 7-5; Away: 8-7

Last time in regular season:Vikings defeated Giants 49-17 on Dec. 27, 2015, in Minnesota

Last time in regular season in Minnesota:Same

New York's 2015 offensive rankings:

Total yards: 5,956 (8th in NFL); Rushing yards: 1,609 (18th); Passing yards: 4,347 (7th); Points/game: 26.3 (6th); Sacks allowed/pass play percentage: 4.33 percent (4th); Interception rate: 2.25 percent (16th); Average time of possession: 28:14 (27th)

New York's 2015 defensive rankings:

Total yards allowed/game: 420.3 (32nd); Rushing yards allowed/game: 121.4 (24th); Passing yards allowed/game: 298.9 (32nd); Points allowed/game: 27.6 (30th); Sacks/pass play: 3.61 percent (30th);Interception rate: 2.35 percent (16th)

Icebreakers:The Giants are a familiar opponent, as they were the last regular-season home opponent the Vikings faced. Minnesota's defense forced three turnovers in that victory, including safety Harrison Smith's 35-yard interception return for a touchdown. … New York and Head Coach Tom Coughlin parted ways in the offseason, and the Giants promoted Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo. … Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. finished with 96 catches (eighth in NFL) for 1,450 yards (fifth) and 13 touchdowns (tied for fifth) but didn't play against the Vikings due to a suspension. … Including last season's win, the Vikings have won five of the previous seven games against the Giants. … New York ranked in the bottom quarter of the league in numerous defensive categories including total yards allowed, passing yards allowed, points allowed and sacks.

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