EAGAN, Minn. – Nothing says kicking off a new season like hosting a Border Battle.
The Minnesota Vikings on Thursday released their 2020 NFL schedule. The 60th campaign in franchise history will get underway at noon (CT) Sept. 13 against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The rivals have met to open six previous seasons (1962, 1974, 1992, 1994, 2003 and 2008), but this will be the first time that Green Bay has visited Minnesota on Kickoff Weekend.
This will mark the fourth consecutive year for Minnesota to start a season at home.
WEEK 1 · Sun 09/13 · 12:00 PM CDT
Green Bay Packers
WEEK 2 · Sun 09/20 · 12:00 PM CDT
WEEK 3 · Sun 09/27 · 12:00 PM CDT
WEEK 4 · Sun 10/04 · 12:00 PM CDT
WEEK 5 · Sun 10/11 · 7:20 PM CDT
WEEK 6 · Sun 10/18 · 12:00 PM CDT
WEEK 7 - BYE WEEK
WEEK 8 · Sun 11/01 · 12:00 PM CST
Green Bay Packers
WEEK 9 · Sun 11/08 · 12:00 PM CST
WEEK 10 · Mon 11/16 · 7:15 PM CST
WEEK 11 · Sun 11/22 · 3:25 PM CST
WEEK 12 · Sun 11/29 · 12:00 PM CST
WEEK 13 · Sun 12/06 · 12:00 PM CST
WEEK 14 · Sun 12/13 · 12:00 PM CST
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
WEEK 15 · Sun 12/20 · 12:00 PM CST
WEEK 16 · Fri 12/25 · 3:30 PM CST
New Orleans Saints
WEEK 17 · Sun 01/03 · 12:00 PM CST
Having defeated the Saints in 2017, 49ers in 2018 and Falcons in 2019, the Vikings will look to remain undefeated in season openers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Minnesota also won its 2016 home opener against Green Bay in the venue's inaugural game in Week 2.
After four straight seasons of hosting the Bears in Week 17, Minnesota will see a shake-up in 2020. The Vikings will still wrap up the regular season against a division foe, however, as they're slated to visit the Lions on Jan. 3, 2021.
Minnesota is scheduled for just two prime-time games in 2020, including a Sunday Night Football contest at – you guessed it – Seattle in Week 5. This season will mark the Vikings third straight to play on the road against the Seahawks in prime time, having taken the Monday Night Football stage in 2018 and 2019. The game will be Minnesota's 40th appearance on Sunday Night Football.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer joined "Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen to react to the 2020 schedule and joked that Minnesota is "getting used to" the Pacific Northwest trip.
"At least it's on Sunday night and not a Monday-night [game] this year. That's a good thing," Zimmer said. "We've got five playoff teams in the first seven games, five of them won a game in the postseason last year. It will be a tough start."
The Vikings second prime-time matchup will be on Monday Night Football against the Bears at Soldier Field on Nov. 16.
Minnesota also has a pair of late afternoon games, starting with a 3:25 p.m. (CT) kickoff against the Cowboys Week 11, which will start a three-week stretch at home against Dallas, Carolina and Jacksonville, respectively.
The Panthers matchup is likely to feature former Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater, who left New Orleans for Carolina in free agency.
"That will be great seeing Teddy again. … He's a great kid, and we wish him all the best – except for that one game," Zimmer quipped. "It's nice to have three home games in a row."
View photos of the Vikings 2020 schedule in photos including all opponents for the regular season.
Fans who watched the Vikings stun the Saints in the Wild Card round last season may want to ask Santa for a repeat victory. Minnesota will play in New Orleans at 3:30 p.m. (CT) Christmas Day, which in 2020 lands on a Friday, making for quite a rare occurrence. The Vikings have not played on Christmas Day since 2005, when they faced the Ravens on the road.
Minnesota has a Week 7 bye, the earliest since 2016 when it occurred in Week 6.
Zimmer said it "might be a little early" but that having the bye fall near the middle of the season is OK by him.
"We might have to look at it a little bit different this year, depending on if we need to get a little more work done instead of, in the past when it's been later on, we could give players a little more time off," Zimmer explained.
The Vikings will travel to Indianapolis in Week 2, their first time on the road against the AFC South team since 2012. They'll return home to host the Titans in Week 3 and then head to Houston to face Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak's former team in Week 4.
The Falcons will again visit the Vikings in 2020, following up last year's season opener; the two will meet in Week 6 for a noon kickoff before the bye week.
Coming out of the bye, Minnesota will play three consecutive games against NFC North opponents, visiting the Packers and hosting the Lions before facing the Bears in Chicago.
"It's a chance to really get focused after the bye week by understanding the importance of the three division games," Zimmer said.
Another date fans may want to circle on the calendar is Dec. 13, when the Vikings travel to Tampa Bay to face Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski with their new team.
Week 15 will mark Minnesota's final home game of the regular season when it hosts Chicago for a noon kickoff.
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