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Players React to 2016 Regular Season Schedule

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The NFL world was buzzing Thursday when the 2016 schedules were released for each team.

Count Vikings players among those as excited for Minnesota's 2016 regular season slate.

"You feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas," said Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright.

It turned out the Vikings will visit Green Bay on Christmas Eve, Chicago on Halloween and Detroit on Thanksgiving. Minnesota also will play on New Year's Day, hosting the Bears.

Vikings players arrived at Winter Park on Monday morning for the first day of voluntary offseason workouts, the recent schedule news still fresh on their minds.

One of the biggest takeaways among players was the fact the Vikings will play four prime time games, plus the nationally broadcast game on Thanksgiving that will draw a lot of eyeballs.

"I looked over it and noticed a lot of prime time games this year," said defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. "It's about time.

"The Vikings have been working hard the past few years and now the whole world gets to see us instead of just the Midwest," he added. "I think everyone is going to enjoy (watching) us this year and we're going to do a good job of working hard together."

Added wide receiver Adam Thielen: "It means the league thinks we have a pretty good team and have a good future. It's exciting but now you have to show up and get prepared for those."

Minnesota's Week 2 matchup against Green Bay, a prime time appearance on Sunday Night Football that will mark the regular season debut of U.S. Bank Stadium, was a popular pick among players as a game they've already circled on their calendars.

"Anytime you play a rival and a division opponent, you've got to be ready to go," Thielen said. "Add into that a new stadium, and I think the guys will be pretty pumped."

Fullback Zach Line said he'll be ready for the Packers. The teams split their pair of games last season as each team picked up a road win.

The Vikings win at Lambeau Field in Week 17 earned them the NFC North championship.

"You've always got to circle the Green Bay games," Line said. "Those are always fun to play in … just physical games between two good teams, especially last year."

Floyd said he's excited for the atmosphere of U.S. Bank Stadium — and the chance to be out of the bitter cold later in the season.

"It means we're back indoors, which is a great thing," Floyd said with a laugh. "But besides that, we're (excited) to open up a game in there and have our fans come out and support us."

Said Line: "Flying in back from Michigan to Minnesota, we were coming over U.S. Bank Stadium, and it just looks awesome. It'll be fun to get in there."

Line, a Michigan native who grew up roughly 40 miles outside of Detroit, said he'll probably receive plenty of ticket requests for Minnesota's Nov. 24 game in Detroit on Thanksgiving.

View photos through the years of the Vikings on Thanksgiving.

"The one that sticks out in my mind is going home to Detroit for Thanksgiving," Line said. "That's something as a kid that I always grew up watching on Thanksgiving Day.

"It'll be fun planning my family's Thanksgiving because I'm sure they'll all have to come down to Detroit and watch the game," he added. "It's always fun to go home to Ford Field, and to get a win on Thanksgiving would be a blessing."

Floyd concurred with Line about the importance and special aspect of that holiday clash, the Vikings first Thanksgiving Day game since 2000.

Yet as the Vikings returned to work Monday, they started their preparation for the entire 2016 season.

"I did see the Thanksgiving game," Floyd said. "Turkey on the road, so that ain't a problem.

"I think we have a good group of games that we play," Floyd added. "But there's a lot of challenges coming up."

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