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2022 Vikings Schedule: Week 1 Features O'Connell Debut & Packers in Border Battle

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EAGAN, Minn. — Vikings football will be back in Minnesota in Week 1 — and so will the Packers.

The teams and the NFL announced Thursday that Minnesota will host Green Bay in Week 1 of the 2022 regular season. Click here for ticket information.

The 124th Border Battle will mark new Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell's debut and mark the third time in U.S. Bank's seven seasons for Minnesota's home opener to occur against Green Bay.

"[We're] expecting to have an unbelievable crowd there," O'Connell told Vikings Entertainment Network's Tatum Everett. "I've talked a lot about being on that visitor's sideline, so I know what the Packers will be in store for on opening weekend. I expect to see a stadium full of Purple. It's a great opportunity for us and a challenge.

"What a way to start your season — a challenge but also a great way to kick-start what is hopefully going to be a great 2022," O'Connell added.

The Vikings will open the 2022 season with a home game against the Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Eric Kendricks told VEN's Gabe Henderson he guessed correctly that Minnesota would open at home against Green Bay. He recalled the Vikings christening U.S. Bank Stadium with a 17-14 win in Week 2 of the 2016 season, his second in the NFL.

"I just had that feeling," Kendricks said. "I know how crazy it's going to be. It's going to be insane. … It's the fans' offseason, too, so they're lifting weights and yelling in the shower, getting ready for these home games, so it's going to be lit."

Receiver Adam Thielen said he was "pumped" about the Vikings starting at home against the Packers and sees it as something to help get through the grind of training camp.

"Start it off right, obviously. You're kind of always looking forward to that first week," Thielen said. "You're going through training camp, you're going through all that prep for Week 1, and what a better team to have than the Packers? And in a stadium with a ton of excitement, right? New coaches, new GM, new players. Everything's pumped up, excited, and I can't wait to be at [U.S. Bank Stadium]."

The Packers prevailed 43-34 to open the 2020 season in a stadium that was empty because of COVID-19 protocols.

"It was our first time in that environment. It was extra quiet," quarterback Kirk Cousins told Henderson. "They ended up pumping in some noise as the weeks went on, but that first week was dead quiet, like playing Pop Warner football, so that was an eerie thing. We did that in 2020, so we've just got to get a better result this time around."

Having Justin Jefferson in the lineup as a cemented star should help. The Vikings opted to not start Jefferson until Week 3 of his rookie season in 2020. He was targeted thrice in his NFL debut and caught his first two receptions for 26 yards.

The teams have split their head-to-head meetings in each of the past two seasons, with Minnesota bouncing back on the road in 2020 at Lambeau Field.

The Vikings outlasted the Packers 34-31 at home last November before enduring a 37-10 loss at Green Bay in Week 17 (Jan. 2, 2022).

Jefferson caught eight passes for 169 yards and two scores last season at home against the Packers. He added six catches for 58 yards at Lambeau Field in Week 17.

Matt LaFleur has led the Packers to the NFC North crown and recorded 13 regular-season victories in each of the 42-year-old's first three seasons. Green Bay, however, fell in the NFC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons. The Packers lost at home in the Divisional Round this past January after earning the conference's No. 1 seed and bye.

O'Connell, who will turn 37 on May 25, was hired by Minnesota in February, three days after helping the Los Angeles Rams win Super Bowl LVI in his second season as their offensive coordinator.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Packers.

The Vikings have retained their core nucleus of skill players on offense, highlighted by Cousins, RB Dalvin Cook, Jefferson and Adam Thielen. TE Irv Smith, Jr., is expected to return from a knee injury that sidelined his third pro season.

Minnesota has veterans and newcomers at every level of its defense, which is being reconstructed with more 3-4 principles. The Vikings bolstered that side of the football by signing defensive tackle Harrison Phillips, inside linebacker Jordan Hicks and edge rusher Za'Darius Smith.

Smith was released by the Packers this offseason after missing most of 2021 with a back injury. He had proven to be a key signing by Green Bay in 2019, posting 13.5 sacks on the way to his first Pro Bowl and following with 12.5 more and another all-star selection in 2020.

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"First of all, I want to say I'm happy that I have the opportunity to play football again. Also, to be here with my coaches," Smith told Everett. "But you know what I'm also excited about? Being able to play them twice a year."

The Vikings also selected defensive players with five of their first six selections in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Minnesota chose safety Lewis Cine with the final pick (32nd overall) of the first round after trading down 20 spots in a deal with Detroit. The Vikings traded the 34th overall selection early in the second round to the Packers, who selected WR Christian Watson out of North Dakota State.

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New General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah used a selection obtained in that deal to maneuver back up the board to select cornerback Andrew Booth, Jr., at 42nd overall.

After tabbing guard Ed Ingram with the other pick obtained from Green Bay (59th overall), the Vikings drafted linebacker Brian Asamoah early in the third round (66th overall) before adding cornerback Akayleb Evans in the fourth (118th) and defensive lineman Esezi Otomewo in the fifth (165th overall) to complete their selections on that side of the football.

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