View the 2015 Vikings schedule in photos.
Tuesday's **schedule release** answered the when question that awaited the Vikings, who have known their 2015 opponents since the previous regular season ended.
As the calendar advances, there will be plenty of time for Vikings Entertainment Network and Vikings.com to preview each matchup when the regular season rolls around. Several aspects of each matchup could change in this year's NFL Draft (April 30-May 2), but here are some icebreakers to start the conversation.
We'll group these in quarters:
Vikings at Cardinals
7:25 p.m. (CT) | Dec. 10 | University of Phoenix Stadium
Series Results:Vikings W-L-T: 15-10-0
Last time in regular season:Vikings won 21-14 on Oct. 21, 2012; Last time in regular season at Arizona:Cardinals won 30-17 on Dec. 6, 2009
Arizona's 2014 offensive rankings: Total yards: 5,116 (24th in NFL); Rushing yards: 1,308 (31st); Passing yards: 3,808 (14th); Points/game: 19.4 (24th)
Arizona's 2014 defensive rankings: Total yards allowed/game: 368.2 (24th); Rushing yards allowed/game: 108.7 (13th); Passing yards allowed/game: 259.5 (29th); Points allowed/game: 18.7 (5th); Sacks: 35 (24th); Interceptions: 18 (7th)
Icebreakers:In addition to visiting the venue that will host Super Bowl 50 to open the season, the Vikings also will play at the site of Super Bowl XLIX for a game that will be on Thursday Night Football and potentially the only warm game in their final five. Like Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians logged many successful seasons before the first opportunity to become a head coach. Arians first did so on an interim basis with the Colts, filling in while Chuck Pagano battled leukemia, and took over the Cardinals in 2013. Arizona bolstered the front seven of its defense by signing Corey Peters, Cory Redding, Sean Weatherspoon and LaMarr Woodley in free agency to counteract the departures of Dan Williams to Oakland and Darnell Dockett, along with one of the best facemasks in the game, to San Francisco.
Vikings vs. Bears
Noon* (CT) | Dec. 20 | TCF Bank Stadium
Series Results:Vikings W-L-T: 55-51-2
Last time in regular season in Minnesota:Vikings won 13-9 on Dec. 28, 2014* *
Chicago's 2014 offensive rankings: Total yards: 5,233 (21st in NFL); Rushing yards: 1,441 (27th); Passing yards: 3,792 (15th); Points/game: 19.9 (23rd)
Chicago's 2014 defensive rankings: Total yards allowed/game: 377.1 (30th); Net rushing yards allowed/game: 112.7 (17th); Net passing yards allowed/game: 264.4 (30th); Points allowed/game: 27.6 (31st); Sacks: 39 (tied for 16th); Interceptions: 14 (tied for 14th)
Icebreakers:The tradeoff of the short week created by a Thursday game is a mini-bye week of sorts on the back end. The placement will allow Minnesota to return and gear up for the final three games, including two straight at home. Chicago's recent signing of tight end Bear Pascoe offers the option of saying "Dub-Bears" instead of "Da Bears," but only Minnesota has Teddy. Bridgewater concluded his first campaign with a victory against Chicago last season en route to multiple franchise records and Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Bridgewater made a touchdown-saving tackle of Kyle Fuller after a deflected interception and connected with Adam Thielen on a 44-yard TD in the third quarter for his and Mike Zimmer's first NFC North victory.
Vikings vs. Giants
Noon* (CT) | Dec. 27 | TCF Bank Stadium
Series Results:Vikings W-L-T: 14-12-0
Last time in regular season:Giants won 23-7 on Oct. 21, 2013; Last time in regular season in Minnesota:Vikings won 44-7 on Jan. 3, 2010 (a Vikings home game* **that the Giants won 21-3 on Dec. 3, 2010 was played at Ford Field in Detroit)
New York's 2014 offensive rankings: Total yards: 5,875 (10th in NFL); Rushing yards: 1,603 (23rd); Passing yards: 4,272 (7th); Points/game: 23.8 (13th)
New York's 2014 defensive rankings: Total yards allowed/game: 375.8 (29th); Rushing yards allowed/game: 135.1 (30th); Passing yards allowed/game: 240.6 (18th); Points allowed/game: 25.0 (tied for 22nd); Sacks: 47 (4th); Interceptions: 17 (11th)
Icebreakers:When the Vikings wrap up a two-year stint of home games at TCF Bank Stadium, they'll do so almost a year to the day of hosting Chicago in a game with a 15-degree temperature at kickoff. By this point, their future home will be fully enclosed and being prepared to open in July 2016. Coincidentally, New York's last scheduled trip to Minnesota was altered by weather when heavy snow collapsed the roof of the Metrodome in 2010. The Vikings will have their fourth game ever against Peyton Manning in Week 4 and hope to be in line for the season sweep against Eli Manning, who is 3-4 against Minnesota and developed a strong connection with rookie receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., who. Beckham tied for ninth in the NFL with 91 receptions and ranked 10th with 1,305 yards, leading all rookies in both categories. He also tied for the top TD production for a newcomer with 12 scores.
Vikings at Packers
Noon* (CT) | Jan. 3, 2016 | Lambeau Field
Series Results:Vikings W-L-T: 49-58-2
Last time in regular season at Green Bay:Packers won 42-10 on Oct. 2, 2014* *
Green Bay's 2014 offensive rankings: Total yards: 6,178 (6th in NFL); Net rushing yards: 1,804 (11th); Net passing yards: 4,261 (8th); Points/game: 30.4 (1st)
Green Bay's 2014 defensive rankings: Total yards allowed/game: 346.4 (15th); Net rushing yards allowed/game: 119.9 (23rd); Net passing yards allowed/game: 226.4 (10th); Points allowed/game: 21.8 (tied for 13th); Sacks: 41 (tied for 9th); Interceptions: 18 (tied for 7th)
Icebreakers:Is there an over-under for the average game-time temperature for the Vikings final three games of 2015? Even if warmer than likely, this game will be historic because it will be the first regular season meeting between the border rivals in January. Ever. With defenders likely cold and fatigued from a full NFL season, tackling Eddie Lacy could be paramount. In two seasons, he has more rushing yards (434) against the Vikings than any other opponent, and his per-carry average in Decembers is 4.9 yards, up from 3.1 in Septembers, 4.4 in Octobers and 4.35 in Novembers. This game also will be the 40th game that Minnesota has played at Lambeau Field, site of Charles Johnson's and Adam Thielen's first NFL catches in 2014. Johnson also caught his first TD in the second game last season against the team that drafted him in 2013.
2015 Vikings season tickets starting as low as $420 available. For more info or to buy, visit***vikings.com/tickets**** or call 612-338-4537.*