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ESPN's Goessling Predicts Vikings to Finish 11-5 in 2016

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The 2016 Vikings schedule was released yesterday, and there are a number of observations from the lineup, including four prime time games, four holiday games and facing Green Bay in the Vikings home opener.

Following the schedule release, ESPN's Ben Goessling took a stab at predicting the Vikings 2016 record. In the end, he had the Vikings finishing 11-5 in the regular season. 

Goessling said the Vikings will start out 2-0, defeating the division-rival Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Vikings will open U.S. Bank Stadium in style, against their archrival on Sunday night. The last time these teams met, the Vikings swiped the division title from the Packers in Week 17. Vikings fans might have a little trepidation about Aaron Rodgers & Co. ruining their big night, but in what should be an electric atmosphere, the Vikings' defense will harass Rodgers enough to help secure a victory.

According to Goessling's best guess, Minnesota will suffer its first loss Week 3 to the Panthers, who came up short in Super Bowl 50. Goessling called the Carolina matchup the Vikings most challenging road game.

In Week 8, Goessling said the Vikings will win a second consecutive game at Soldier field after snapping a seven-game losing streak last season.

The Vikings won at Soldier Field for the first time since 2007 a year ago, and put an end to a run of futility in prime-time games at the end of 2015. They'll get to see if they can keep things going in the right direction on both fronts on Monday Night Football. The guess here is they will, as they prey on a Bears defense that has struggled to stop the run in recent years.

Goessling predicted Minnesota to split the series with Green Bay, falling to the Packers at Lambeau Field on Christmas Eve.

A short week wraps up with what might be the Vikings' lone cold-weather contest of the season. There could be plenty on the line in this one, and if the Packers are healthy (which seems to be a big "if" these days), it's tough to see the Vikings getting a season sweep of their rivals. Give this one to the home team, in a matchup that could be pivotal for playoff positioning.

And lastly, Goessling said the Vikings will defeat the Bears at home to wrap up the regular season. Here are Goessling's full predictions:

Week 1 at Tennessee Titans: W

Week 2 vs. Green Bay Packers: W

Week 3 at Carolina Panthers: L

Week 4 vs. New York Giants: W

Week 5 vs. Houston Texans: L

Week 6: BYE

Week 7 at Philadelphia Eagles: W

Week 8 at Chicago Bears: W

Week 9 vs. Detroit Lions: W

Week 10 at Washington Redskins: W

Week 11 vs. Arizona Cardinals: L

Week 12 at Detroit Lions: L

Week 13 vs. Dallas Cowboys: W

Week 14 at Jacksonville Jaguars: W

Week 15 vs. Indianapolis Colts: W

Week 16 at Green Bay Packers: L

Week 17 vs. Chicago Bears: W

Percy Harvin to retire from NFL

One day after Jared Allen signed a one-day contract*to retire as a Minnesota Viking, the *Star Tribune reported that former Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin is retiring** from the NFL at age 27.

The Vikings selected Harvin 22nd overall in the 2009 NFL Draft, and he spent four seasons in Minnesota before having stints with Seattle, the New York Jets and Buffalo. During his time with the Vikings, Harvin recorded 3,302 yards and 20 touchdowns. As a rookie, Harvin received All-Pro recognition, a Pro Bowl nod and was named the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

[Harvin] became the first Viking ever to score a touchdown in each of his first three games, as well as the second-youngest player to return a kickoff for a score in league history. He finished his rookie year averaging 9 yards per carry.

Even with such an impressive rookie season, 2011 was Harvin's most effective, as he played in all 16 games for the only time in his seven-year career. That season, Harvin had 87 catches for 967 yards and six touchdowns.

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