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Vikings Open 2021 Regular Season on Road vs. Bengals in Week 1


EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings will kick off the 2021 regular season on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1.

Minnesota's season opener is on Sept. 12, with kickoff slated for noon (CT) on FOX.

The game was announced by FOX 9's Hobie Artigue during an exclusive window for TV networks and stations to promote Week 1 games that they'll cover:

There are plenty of storylines for this one as Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer begins his eighth season at the helm in Minnesota.

One of them, of course, involves Zimmer, who will coach his first regular-season game in Cincinnati in the role he's held since 2014.

Zimmer was the Bengals defensive coordinator from 2008-13 before landing the Vikings job. He led Cincinnati's defense to top-10 finishes in points allowed in four of those six seasons, helping the Bengals make four playoff appearances in that span.

Zimmer has only faced Cincinnati once in his career, a 34-7 home win in 2017 that clinched an NFC North title for the Vikings. He is 64-47-1 in seven regular seasons in Purple with three playoff appearances and a pair of NFC North titles.

The Week 1 matchup also features former Vikings left tackle Riley Reiff, who was released by Minnesota in a salary-cap move this offseason.

Reiff has transitioned to right tackle, where he'll likely be greeted by a motivated Danielle Hunter after the Pro-Bowl defensive end missed the entire 2020 season with a neck injury.

And Reiff will be tasked with protecting Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, the 2020 No. 1 overall pick who missed the Bengals final six games with a torn ACL as a rookie. Burrow threw for 2,688 yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions before his injury, and was sacked 32 times.


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Burrow will be familiar with a pair of wide receivers, too, but they will be wearing different uniforms.

Justin Jefferson, Burrow's former LSU teammate, will look to build on a historic rookie season in which he set a Super Bowl-era record for a rookie with 1,400 receiving yards. His 88 receptions also set a Vikings rookie record.

Wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, the No. 5 overall pick by the Bengals in the 2021 NFL Draft, will be making his NFL debut. Chase and Jefferson are good friends and teamed up with Burrow to power a record-setting offense and help LSU win the 2019 national title. Cincinnati also recently added former Tigers tight end Thaddeus Moss, the son of Hall of Famer.

View photos of the Vikings 2021 coaching staff.

Former Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes, who missed all of 2020 with an injury, could make his Bengals debut by facing Jefferson or Adam Thielen.

Both teams will be looking to get off to a winning start after missing out on the postseason in 2020.

Minnesota went 7-9 and continued a quirky streak of missing the postseason in even-numbered years under Zimmer. The Vikings did not make the playoffs in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020, but qualified for the postseason in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

Cincinnati went 4-11-1 in Zac Taylor's second season in charge. The Bengals are 6-25-1 under Taylor since he was hired in February of 2019.

The remainder of the 2021 Vikings schedule will be revealed on and the team's social media platforms at at 6:45 p.m. (CT) tonight. Be sure to flag and tune-in to "Schedule Release '21 Presented by Verizon" at 7 p.m. (CT) on NFL Network. Vikings platforms will deliver additional analysis.

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