EAGAN, Minn. — By now, you probably know the Minnesota Vikings are on to Cincinnati to face the Bengals in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL regular season.
But what comes after the first Kickoff Weekend meeting (Sept. 12) and third-ever September game between the teams?
Minnesota will stay on the road in Week 2 (Sept. 19) and visit the Arizona Cardinals for its first trip to the desert since Dec. 10, 2015. The Vikings lost that one in a close one but have won the past two against the Cardinals.
The long-awaited return home — hopefully to a stadium full of fans and a robust SKOL Chant — is set for Week 3 (Sept. 26). The matchup is with a Seattle Seahawks team that is 7-0 (including one playoff victory) against Minnesota since the Vikings won on Nov. 22, 2009 with Pro Football Hall of Fame guard Steve Hutchinson in Purple and playing his former squad.
WEEK 1 · Sun 09/12 · 12:00 PM CDT
WEEK 2 · Sun 09/19 · 3:05 PM CDT
WEEK 3 · Sun 09/26 · 3:25 PM CDT
WEEK 4 · Sun 10/03 · 12:00 PM CDT
WEEK 5 · Sun 10/10 · 12:00 PM CDT
WEEK 6 · Sun 10/17 · 12:00 PM CDT
WEEK 7 - BYE WEEK
WEEK 8 · Sun 10/31 · 7:20 PM CDT
WEEK 9 · Sun 11/07 · 12:00 PM CST
WEEK 10 · Sun 11/14 · 3:05 PM CST
Los Angeles Chargers
WEEK 11 · Sun 11/21 · 12:00 PM CST
Green Bay Packers
WEEK 12 · Sun 11/28 · 3:25 PM CST
San Francisco 49ers
WEEK 13 · Sun 12/05 · 12:00 PM CST
WEEK 14 · Thu 12/09 · 7:20 PM CST
WEEK 15 · Mon 12/20 · 7:15 PM CST
WEEK 16 · Sun 12/26 · 12:00 PM CST
Los Angeles Rams
WEEK 17 · Sun 01/02 · 7:20 PM CST
Green Bay Packers
WEEK 18 · Sun 01/09 · 12:00 PM CST
2021 PRESEASON GAMES
WEEK 1 | August 13 or 14 | Time TBD | Home vs. Denver Broncos | U.S. Bank Stadium
WEEK 2 | August 20 or 21 | Time TBD | Home vs. Indianapolis Colts | U.S. Bank Stadium
WEEK 3 | August 27 or 28 | Time TBD | Away @ Kansas Chiefs | GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium
The Vikings will host former longtime assistant Kevin Stefanski's Cleveland Browns in Week 4 (Oct. 3) and a Detroit Lions team in Week 5 (Oct. 10) that has undergone an immense overhaul. What will be weirder — seeing Stefanski in orange and brown or the Lions quarterbacked by Jared Goff instead of Matthew Stafford?
Minnesota will make just its sixth visit ever to Carolina in Week 6. It will be the third time the Panthers have hosted the Vikings for an October game (Oct. 17).
The Vikings will have their bye week in Week 7 for the second consecutive season, a scheduling duplication that hasn't happened since 1993-94.
After the weekend of rest, the Vikings will host the Dallas Cowboys in Week 8 (Oct. 31) on NBC's Sunday Night Football. The third meeting in as many seasons will fall on Halloween — watch out for trick plays?
The next four games of the slate will involve a trip to the East Coast and two to the West Coast that will bookend the home edition of the Border Battle.
The Vikings will visit the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9 (Nov. 7) for the first meeting between the teams in November, fifth in Baltimore and seventh overall.
Minnesota will then travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers in Week 10 (Nov. 14) at SoFi Stadium. This will be the second contest between the teams in L.A. The uncommon foes (13 previous games) were paired when the NFL expanded to a 17-game schedule in the 2021 regular season.
The rarity will transition to familiarity for the 122nd Border Battle when the Vikings host the Green Bay Packers in Week 11 (Nov. 21). This will be the fourth time the Vikings have hosted their rivals in November since 2014.
The south end of the San Francisco Bay will host the Vikings and 49ers in Week 12 (Nov. 28). Minnesota hasn't won at San Francisco since Dec. 9, 2007.
Week 13 (Dec. 5) will bring the annual trip to face the Detroit Lions. The Vikings have claimed the past four games in Detroit by combined scores of 136 to 97.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will visit U.S. Bank Stadium to open Week 14 (Dec. 9) on Thursday Night Football. It will be the first trip to Minnesota by Pittsburgh since 2005 because the last scheduled "home" game (2013) for the Vikings in the series was held in London.
The mini-bye that occurs as a reward for an incredibly short previous week will be extended by a day because Minnesota will travel to Soldier Field to face the Chicago Bears in Week 15 (Dec. 20). This will be the fifth time in six seasons that the annual contest along Lake Michigan will start in prime time.
Dec. 26 has been good to the Vikings when playing the Rams, with Minnesota going 3-0 against Los Angeles in playoff contests that followed the 1976, 1977 and 1988 seasons. The Vikings can hope for similar success in a game that will likely have playoff implications for one or both teams in Week 16. Rams Head Coach Sean McVay was 2 years old the last time these teams played on Dec. 26, by the way.
Minnesota's shortest road trip (unless a runway delay is involved) will occur in Week 17 (Jan. 2, 2022) when the Vikings visit the Packers for an appearance on NBC's Sunday Night Football. It will be nearly six years to the date of the 2015 regular-season finale getting flexed into prime time.
Perhaps the most certain thing in this uncertain world is the Vikings closing their home slate against the Bears. This newly fangled Week 18 (Jan. 9, 2022) contest will be the sixth consecutive Vikings home finale involving the Bears.
All NFC teams will play nine road games and host eight games in 2021 when the NFL expands to 17 games in the regular season.
The Vikings and other NFC teams will host two preseason contests and play one exhibition game on the road in 2021. The Vikings will host the Broncos (Aug. 13 or 14) and Colts (Aug. 20 or 21). Minnesota will visit Kansas City (Aug. 27 or 28). Those games will be simulcast by FOX 9 KMSP and KFAN 100.3-FM.