EAGAN, Minn. — There’s no place like home to start and finish a season.
The Vikings on Wednesday released their 2019 regular-season schedule, a slate that will kick off at noon (CT) Sept. 8 against the Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium.
This will be the third consecutive season for Minnesota to open at home. The Vikings defeated the Saints in 2017 and the 49ers in 2018 to start each campaign with positive momentum.
The regular-season finale will involve the Vikings hosting the … wait for it … Bears for the fourth consecutive season, fifth time in Head Coach Mike Zimmer’s six seasons, and sixth time this decade.
A new twist this season, however, is that the Dec. 29 contest will be preceded by the Vikings hosting the Packers on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, making this the first time for Minnesota to close with back-to-back home games since 2008.
That edition of the Border Battle is one of five that is scheduled to air in prime time. The others are against Washington (Oct. 24 on NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football), at Dallas (Nov. 10 on NBC’s Sunday Night Football), at Seattle (Dec. 2 on Monday Night Football) and at the Los Angeles Chargers (Dec. 15 on Sunday Night Football).
“We’ve got five prime-time games this year, so we’re going to have to do a great job in all those,” Zimmer said during an interview with Vikings.com’s Mike Wobschall. “We’ve got a Monday night at home against Green Bay, so that will be another fun one.”
The Vikings and Packers also will meet in Week 2 at Lambeau Field, renewing the rivalry 364 days after a furious comeback by Minnesota ended in a 29-all tie.
Oakland will visit Minnesota in Week 3, and the Vikings will travel to Chicago to challenge the Bears and New York to face the Giants in consecutive weeks before hosting the Eagles in Week 6 and visiting the Lions in Week 7.
The Vikings are 4-0 all-time against the Falcons in season openers. Minnesota won division titles after starting the 1968 and 1980 seasons by hosting Atlanta and made the playoffs in 1999 after a 17-14 victory. The Vikings last opened against the Falcons in 2007, a 24-3 victory by Minnesota, highlighted by Adrian Peterson’s pro debut, when Zimmer was Atlanta’s defensive coordinator.
Zimmer, who is 4-1 in season openers, is a fan of the routine that comes along with noon (CT) games.
He has to like seeing a first half of the season that has six of eight games in that time slot. The exceptions are the Week 4 showdown in Chicago (3:25 p.m. CT on Sept. 29) and the Week 8 encounter with Washington, which re-signed Peterson and added former Vikings quarterback Case Keenum this offseason. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins will face the team that drafted him in 2012 for the first time.
Zimmer pointed out to Wobschall that this will be the first time the Vikings have hosted a Thursday game on a short week during his tenure, which began in 2014.
The “back nine” weeks of the season, however, are more irregular and start with trips to Kansas City and Dallas, giving Minnesota six road games in their first 10 contests.
The Vikings will then host the Broncos before a Week 12 bye on Sunday, Nov. 24, the second-latest for Minnesota in a season behind Dec. 1, 1991 (byes were implemented in 1990).
“My daughter [Corri] has already mentioned that I have to go to Dallas for Thanksgiving since I haven’t been there for a while,” Zimmer said. “But that part, other than it being really late during the season, I think it will be great for the players to sit around and get around their families and have Thanksgiving with them.”
Rest could be helpful for Minnesota because the two longest trips of the season (at Seahawks, at Chargers) sandwich a home game against the Lions on Dec. 8.
Minnesota will play its three division road games before hosting any of its NFC North foes. This will be the first time for the Vikings to visit Green Bay, Chicago, Detroit and before hosting any of the three since 1972.
2019 Minnesota Vikings Schedule
Week 1 | Sunday, Sept. 8 | NOON | vs. Atlanta Falcons | FOX | KFAN/KTLK
Week 2 | Sunday, Sept. 15 | NOON | at Green Bay Packers | FOX | KFAN/KTLK
Week 3 | Sunday, Sept. 22 | NOON | vs. Oakland Raiders | FOX | KFAN/KTLK
Week 4 | Sunday, Sept. 29 | 3:25 PM | at Chicago Bears | CBS | KFAN/KTLK
Week 5 | Sunday, Oct. 6 | NOON | at New York Giants | FOX | KFAN/KTLK
Week 6 | Sunday, Oct. 13 | NOON | vs. Philadelphia Eagles | FOX | KFAN/KTLK
Week 7 | Sunday, Oct. 20| NOON* | at Detroit Lions | FOX | KFAN/KTLK
Week 8 | Thursday, Oct. 24 | 7:20 PM | vs. Washington Redskins | NFLN | KFAN/KTLK
Week 9 | Sunday, Nov. 3 | NOON* | at Kansas City Chiefs | FOX | KFAN/KTLK
Week 10 | Sunday, Nov. 10 | 7:20 PM* | at Dallas Cowboys | NBC | KFAN/KTLK
Week 11 | Sunday, Nov. 17 | NOON* | vs. Denver Broncos | CBS | KFAN/KTLK
Week 12 | Sunday, Nov. 24 | Bye Week | KFAN/KTLK
Week 13 | Monday, Dec. 2 | 7:15 PM | at Seattle Seahawks | ESPN | KFAN/KTLK
Week 14 | Sunday, Dec. 8 | NOON* | vs. Detroit Lions | FOX | KFAN/KTLK
Week 15 | Sunday, Dec. 15 | 7:20 PM* | at Los Angeles Chargers | NBC | KFAN/KTLK
Week 16 | Monday, Dec. 23 | 7:15 PM | vs. Green Bay Packers | ESPN | KFAN/KTLK
Week 17 | Sunday, Dec. 29| NOON* | vs. Chicago Bears | FOX | KFAN/KTLK
Preseason Week 1 | Friday, Aug. 9 | 7:00 PM CT | at New Orleans Saints | FOX 9 | KFAN/KTLK
Preseason Week 2 | Sunday, Aug. 18 | 7:00 PM CT | vs. Seattle Seahawks | FOX | KFAN/KTLK
Preseason Week 3 | Saturday, Aug. 24 | NOON CT | vs. Arizona Cardinals | NFL Network | KFAN/KTLK
Preseason Week 4 | Thursday, Aug. 29 | at 6:00 PM CT | at Buffalo Bills | FOX 9 | KFAN/KTLK
January 4-5 | Wild Card Playoff Games
January 11-12 | Division Playoff Games
January 11-12 | Division Playoff Games
February 2 | Super Bowl LIV Miami
Vikings home games in bold | *Game-time subject to change due to flexible scheduling