U.S. Bank Stadium will make its football debut by hosting a nationally televised preseason game between the Minnesota Vikings and the San Diego Chargers, the NFL and Vikings announced Thursday.
The Preseason Week 3 matchup will start at noon Sunday, Aug. 28 and be broadcast by Fox. The Vikings also will host the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday, Sept. 1 to conclude the four-game exhibition slate. The time for the preseason finale will be determined later.
The defending NFC North champions will open the preseason slate with visits to defending AFC North champion Cincinnati in Preseason Week 1 (Aug. 12-14) and to Seattle in Preseason Week 2 (Aug. 19-21).
All Vikings preseason games can be seen locally on KMSP Fox 9 TV and heard on KFAN-FM 100.3 and KTLK-AM 1130.
The schedule for the regular season is likely to be announced later this month. Here are a couple of immediate reactions to the preseason foes.
View some of the best images of U.S. Bank Stadium through the first 90-plus percent of the build.
Week 1: Minnesota (11-5 in 2015) at Cincinnati (12-4)
This will mark Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's first trip to Cincinnati since his hire by Minnesota in 2014. Zimmer served as Bengals defensive coordinator from 2008-13, consistently giving problems to opposing offenses. Since Zimmer's arrival in Minnesota, the Vikings have signed former Bengals cornerback Terence Newman (2015 and again in 2016) and added tackle Andre Smith and linebacker Emmanuel Lamur via free agency this offseason. Vikings linebackers coach Adam Zimmer was Bengals assistant DBs coach in 2013.
Week 2: Minnesota at Seattle (10-6)
The stakes won't be as high, but the temperature should be considerably warmer in this rematch of the Jan. 10 NFC Wild Card playoff game. That day, which set a record for the coldest game in franchise history (minus-6 degrees Fahrenheit; minus-25 wind chill), ended the Vikings season with a 10-9 Seahawks victory. It will be interesting to catch a glimpse at how Seattle might move forward from the retirement of Marshawn Lynch. This could be a precursor to another postseason matchup if both teams have the seasons that many expect.
Week 3: San Diego (4-12) at Minnesota
This will mark a rematch of a Week 3 regular season game that the Vikings secured with a memorable 91-yard interception return for a touchdown by Chad Greenway. Adrian Peterson busted loose with a stellar 43-yard touchdown run early in the second half and finished with 126 yards and two scores on 20 carries. The Vikings should get a look against a strong starting quarterback in Philip Rivers because starters often play more in the third preseason game than any other. It's interesting that a team that is interested in a new stadium will be the guest as the Vikings christen their new home.
Week 4: Los Angeles (7-9) at Minnesota
This will be a rematch of a 2015 Week 9 game in which the Vikings claimed a 21-18 overtime victory on a walk-off 40-yard field goal by Blair Walsh. With the Vikings wrapping up their two-year odyssey at the University of Minnesota, the nomadic Rams are just beginning their journey, trekking from St. Louis to Los Angeles. The Rams are scheduled to play at the L.A. Coliseum until their new stadium opens (projected to be complete in 2019).