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Minnesota Vikings 2023 Schedule Takeaways

EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings 2023 schedule is loose and features five prime-time games.

The team's quest to defend its NFC North title will begin by hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1.

The regular-season road will end in Detroit for the second time since 2020. In between, there are plenty of intriguing matchups on the way. Click here for more information about tickets.

Here are 10 takeaways from the Vikings 2023 schedule.

1. Is the North expected to run through …?

Jump down to the final three weeks of the season, and Minnesota is hosting Detroit in Week 16 and visiting the Lions in Week 18.

In between, Minnesota will have a home game against Green Bay.

The NFL has emphasized playing division games to close the past several seasons, as Minnesota has faced an NFC North rival in every regular-season finale since 2010.

The close concentration of games between the Vikings and Lions could have more than a few implications on division standings and playoff status, and the division also has run through Green Bay plenty of times.

Detroit closed 2022 strong, winning eight of its final 10 games to finish 9-8. The Vikings contributed to the Lions woeful 1-6 start with their comeback victory in Week 3.

View home and away photos of the Vikings 2023 regular season schedule.

2. Tight turnaround

It's been rare for the Vikings to have two contests against the same opponent in a span of three games, particularly since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. It has happened eight previous times (1970, 1976, 1978, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1995 and 2012) since 1970.

Prior to the NFL shifting from two conferences to four divisions in 1967, the Vikings had four of those scheduling quirks, including two in 1963 and one occurrence in 1964 and 1965. But nothing has been quite as peculiar as the Vikings inaugural 1961 season when Minnesota played Green Bay in consecutive weeks.

3. Front loaded with 2022 playoff participants

The Vikings strength of schedule is tied with the Bears for 18th (based on 2023 opponents' win percentage last season), but Minnesota also is scheduled to play six teams that made the playoffs last season.

Five (Buccaneers, at Eagles, Chargers, Chiefs and 49ers) of the six are scheduled for Minnesota's first seven games. That stretch includes three of the four participants in last season's conference championship games and both Super Bowl LVII participants before Week 6.

The one remaining team from last season's playoff participants — Cincinnati — is scheduled for Week 15, but time and day remain to be determined.

4. Big gaps between home games

This will be the third overall season with a 17th regular-season game and second in which NFC teams will play nine road games and only eight at home.

Minnesota will have just three home games between early October and late December.

After hosting Kansas City on Oct. 8, the Vikings will host San Francisco (Oct. 23), New Orleans (Nov. 12) and Chicago (Nov. 27) until hosting Detroit (Dec. 24).

That means three big gaps with just one home game (Oct. 9 to Nov. 12; Oct. 24 to Nov. 27; Nov. 13 to Dec. 24) that are similar to stretches Minnesota has experienced at that point of the calendar in recent seasons.

2019: One home game between Oct. 14 and Nov. 17

2020: One home game between Oct. 19 and Nov. 22

2021: One home game between Oct. 11 and Nov. 21

2022: One home game between Oct. 10 and Nov. 20

5. Amazon Prime & prime time

The Vikings did not appear in the 2022 inaugural season of Amazon's Thursday Night Football package.

Minnesota won't wait long before filling that bingo card spot this season. The Vikings will face the Eagles in Philadelphia in Week 2 for the second time in as many seasons.

The game will stream on Amazon Prime, starting at 7:15 p.m. (CT) on Sept. 14.

That contest is one of five prime-time games scheduled, along with Monday Night Football home games against San Francisco and Chicago, and two Sunday Night Football games (at Denver and home against Green Bay).

The five scheduled appearances in prime time are the most since five occurred in 2018, which followed Minnesota's 13-3 mark and appearance in the 2017 NFC Championship Game.

6. Variety for viewers

The NFL and its broadcast partners treated each of the 272 regular-season games as "free agents."

Traditionally, a network usually had most of a team's games with the exception of a couple of games with an opposite conference team as a visitor. That has been reduced in recent years with crossover and cross-flexed games.

As it stands right now, the Vikings have eight games on FOX (Chargers, Panthers, at Bears, at Packers, at Falcons, Saints, at Raiders and Lions).

In addition to the Amazon Prime appearance in Week 2, the Vikings have two games scheduled to be broadcast by CBS (Buccaneers and Chiefs), ESPN (49ers and Bears), NBC (at Broncos and vs. Packers) and two that remain to be determined (at Bengals and at Lions).

7. Delay to division slate

The Week 6 trip to Chicago to face the Bears will mark the latest in a season the Vikings have played their first NFC North game since the NFL's current division alignment in 2002, passing two instances of Week 5 games (2014 at Green Bay and 2021 against Detroit).

After playing their three-game home division slate within the first five weeks of 2022, the Vikings aren't set to host an NFC North team until Week 12. That ranks as the second latest in a season behind 2019 (Week 14 against Detroit).

View behind-the-scene photos from the Vikings 2023 schedule release video that was shot with a drone throughout the TCO Performance Center.

8. Bye a long way away

The Vikings also will be waiting quite some time for their bye week, which won't fall until Week 13.

Minnesota has had just one instance of its bye falling later (Week 14 in 1991), but that season started Sept. 1, so the Sunday of that bye week was Dec. 1. Thus, this will be the latest calendar Sunday (Dec. 3) on which a Vikings bye has fallen.

While there's a large distance between the mini-bye created from playing on Thursday in Week 2 until the bye, the placement in Week 13 will provide an opportunity to recharge before visiting Las Vegas and Cincinnati in consecutive weeks and the Detroit-Green Bay-at Detroit trio of division games to close the regular season.

9. Mostly indoors for final two-plus months

With the Vikings having played home games indoors for all but two full seasons since 1982, people often quickly look to see when games at outdoor stadiums have landed.

Last season, Minnesota played at Green Bay and at Chicago in the first two weeks of January. This time, however, the chance of harsh weather at those venues is a bit reduced since those two trips will be finished before Halloween.

With Atlanta, Las Vegas and Detroit all playing home games indoors, that leaves games at Denver (Nov. 19) and at Cincinnati (TBD in Week 15) as the only two outdoor contests after Week 8.

10. A bit more routine

Contrasting with the 2022 open in which Minnesota played its first four games at four different times and on two different continents, the Vikings are scheduled to play at noon (CT) in three of their first four games of 2023.

The routine start time is scheduled for seven of Minnesota's first 10 contests.