EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings 2020 NFL schedule was announced Thursday evening, as the games are now set for the 60th season in franchise history.
Here are seven observations about the Vikings 2020 schedule:
1. Week 7 bye precedes crucial NFC North games
Players and coaches will tell you the first thing they look for when the schedule comes out is the bye week. They want to know when they get a breather between the grind and where it falls among opponents.
The Vikings bye week comes in Week 7, after an even split of home and road games in the first six contests.
But what's important to note is that Minnesota goes to Green Bay, hosts Detroit and then travels to Chicago in the three games immediately following the break.
That means Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's squad will need to be rested for an important trio of games right after the bye.
The Vikings are set to celebrate their 60th NFL season in 2020. This Vikings 2020 NFL Schedule Gallery features key foes and offers a look at some throwback moments — near and far — against Minnesota's opponents.
2. 3 straight home games at key time
The Vikings have three consecutive home games for just the second time in the Zimmer era, the other coming in 2014.
Minnesota will be at U.S. Bank Stadium in Weeks 11-13 against Dallas, Carolina and Jacksonville, respectively.
Zimmer has said he usually doesn't like to look at league standings and statistics until Thanksgiving. Well, the Week 11 game against the Cowboys comes just days before the holiday, and could allow the Vikings to reel off a string of wins as the calendar turns to December.
A key stat: the Vikings are 23-9 (.719 win percentage) at U.S. Bank Stadium since the venue opened in 2016.
3. A historic opener against the Packers
Here's how many times the Vikings have opened a season at home against the Packers in team history: zero.
That will change in 2020 as Minnesota hosts Green Bay in Week 1. Kickoff on Sept. 13 is scheduled for noon (CT).
The Vikings were swept by the Packers in 2019 as Green Bay won the division, so the fireworks will be there right away between the annual division contenders.
The teams have combined to win 14 of the 18 division titles since the NFC North was formed in 2002, including four of the past five.
The Vikings are perfect in their past three season openers at home, getting wins over New Orleans, San Francisco and Atlanta.
The Vikings also won't have their common late-season matchup against the Packers. The teams will meet at Lambeau Field in Week 8 to finish off the 2020 chapter of their rivalry.
4. Christmas in New Orleans
The Vikings will play on Christmas Day for just the fourth time in franchise history, and the matchup will be one of the most anticipated conference games of the season.
The Vikings will travel to New Orleans for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff against the Saints in Week 16. Christmas Day falls on a Friday this year.
The Vikings and Saints are certainly not strangers, as Minnesota has knocked New Orleans out of the postseason in two of the past three years — both times in dramatic fashion. The most-recent instance came in overtime in a January Wild-Card game when Kirk Cousins found Kyle Rudolph for the walk-off score.
This will be the fifth meeting between the teams since the 2017 season opener. The Vikings are 3-1 in the previous four games.
5. Avoiding cold-weather games
The Vikings will play four road games in their final eight contests, beginning with Week 10 at Chicago (more on that below).
But the other three roadies are at Tampa Bay (Week 14), New Orleans (Week 16) and Detroit (Week 17), meaning the Week 10 clash against the Bears could be the worst weather the Vikings play in during the final two months of the season.
Tampa Bay in mid-December? Sign us up. And the road games against the Saints and Lions are indoors. The Vikings hardly have to worry about cold or inclement weather in 2020.
Even the Vikings (seemingly annual) trek to Seattle is in Week 5 (Oct. 11), where the weather should be warmer than the recent early-December road trips.
Overall, the Vikings play 10 of their 16 games under fixed roofs and two more in venues with retractable roofs (Colts and Texans).
That could bode well for someone like Dan Bailey. The Vikings kicker made all 29 of his extra points and was 16 of 17 (94.1 percent) in 2019 when playing indoors or at a stadium with a retractable roof.
6. Sunday at noon ... just how Zimmer likes it
The Vikings only play a pair of prime-time games, including Sunday Night Football in the Seattle game listed above. The other is Week 10 on Monday Night Football in Chicago where the Vikings will try to get a rare road win in a place they have recently struggled.
But the Vikings also play a dozen times on Sunday at noon, rare for a 2019 playoff team but something that will make Zimmer smile.
Those intertwined in the NFL are creatures of habit. During the season, players are used to having meetings and workouts on Mondays, a day off on Tuesday and then filling up Wednesday through Saturday with practices and meetings.
Sunday, of course, is usually game day, with most players and coaches are conditioned to be ready Sunday at noon. The more of those games, the better, for the Vikings.
Since the start of the 2015 season, the Vikings are 35-14-1 under Zimmer in games that begin at noon (CT).
7. Early and often vs. the AFC South means late heavy dose of NFC games
The Vikings will get an early dose of the AFC South in 2020.
After opening against Green Bay, Minnesota will then go to Indianapolis, host Tennessee and then travel down to Houston in Weeks 2-4. The Vikings play those teams once every four seasons, and went 3-1 against those opponents back in 2016.
The Vikings finish up their AFC South slate in Week 13 at home against Jacksonville in just the seventh meeting between the franchises. Houston (four previous games) is the only active opponent the Vikings have played less frequently.
After a bye in Week 7, nine of the Vikings final 10 games are against NFC foes, including five division games. The race for playoff spots — which includes seven teams in each conference — will be as heated as ever down the stretch.
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