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:
Weeks 1-5 | Weeks 6-9 | Weeks 10-13 | Weeks 14-17
Vikings vs. Chiefs
Noon* (CT) | Oct. 18 | TCF Bank Stadium
Series Results:Vikings W-L-T: 4-7-0
Last time in regular season:Chiefs won 22-17 on Oct. 2, 2011; Last time in regular season in Minnesota:Vikings won 45-20 on Dec. 20, 2003
Kansas City's 2014 offensive rankings: Total yards: 5,100 (25th in NFL); Rushing yards: 1,918 (10th); Passing yards: 3,182 (29th); Points/game: 22.1 (16th)
Kansas City's 2014 defensive rankings: Total yards allowed/game: 330.5 (7th); Rushing yards allowed/game: 127.3 (28th); Passing yards allowed/game: 203.3 (2nd); Points allowed/game: 17.6 (2nd); Sacks: 46 (5th); Interceptions: 6 (tied for 30th)
Icebreakers:If the notes in the first quarter of the season on meeting Peyton Manning sent people on a trip through the "way-back machine," so should Kansas City's first visit to Minnesota since 2003, a 45-20 Vikings win in which Daunte Culpepper threw three touchdowns, Onterrio Smith rushed for three and Brian Russell intercepted Trent Green twice. Going even deeper into the franchise timelines, this will mark a rematch of Super Bowl IV, the first of two Vikings regular season games and 19 throughout the league to pit previous Super Bowl pairings against each other. A Chiefs receiver hasn't caught a touchdown since Jan. 4, 2014 (Donnie Avery's 79 yarder at Indianapolis in the Wild Card round of the playoffs) and in the regular season since Dec. 8, 2013 (Dwayne Bowe). Jeremy Maclin's reunion with Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid could end that drought.
View the 2015 Vikings schedule in photos.
Vikings at Lions
Noon* (CT) | Oct. 25 | Ford Field
Series Results:Vikings W-L-T: 69-36-2
Last time in regular season at Detroit:Lions won 16-14 on Dec. 14, 2014* *
Detroit's 2014 offensive rankings: Total yards: 5,452 (19th in NFL); Rushing yards: 1,422 (28th); Passing yards: 4,030 (12th); Points/game: 20.1 (22nd)
Detroit's 2014 defensive rankings: Total yards allowed/game: 300.9 (2nd); Rushing yards allowed/game: 69.3 (1st); Passing yards allowed/game: 231.6 (13th); Points allowed/game: 17.6 (3rd); Sacks: 42 (8th); Interceptions: 20 (tied for 3rd)
Icebreakers:Like a record player on repeat, Minnesota will visit Motown and complete its season series with Detroit before playing any other divisional foe. If that sounds funky, it's because it's only happened once in Vikings history, when Minnesota swept Detroit in 2012 before splitting games with Green Bay and Chicago. Golden Tate racked up career highs of 99 catches and 1,331 yards in his first season with Matthew Stafford to go along with 71 receptions for 1,077 yards and eight touchdowns for Calvin Johnson. Tate and Johnson were one of four sets of teammates to each post more than 1,000 yards receiving in 2014, joining Denver's Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, Green Bay's Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb and Carolina's Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen.
Vikings at Bears
Noon* (CT) | Nov. 1 | Soldier Field
Series Results:Vikings W-L-T: 55-51-2
Last time in regular season at Chicago:Bears won 21-13 on Nov. 16, 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:Soldier Field, the great grandfather of NFL stadiums that first opened in 1924 and has 33 years on Lambeau Field, will see many changes to the Bears this season. Chicago brought in Head Coach John Fox and was the most active of any NFC North squad in bringing in free agents from other clubs this offseason. The Bears added Sam Acho, Mason Foster, Jarvis Jenkins, Ray McDonald, Pernell McPhee and Antrel Rolle via free agency and saw the departure of Charles Tillman, Chris Conte and Stephen Paea on defense alone. Veteran linebacker Lance Briggs also hit the market, but hasn't signed with a club.
Vikings vs. Rams
Noon* (CT) | Nov. 8 | TCF Bank Stadium
Series Results:Vikings W-L-T: 25-16-2
Last time in regular season:Vikings won 34-6 on Sept. 7, 2014; Last time in regular season in Minnesota:Vikings won 36-22 on Dec. 31, 2006
St. Louis' 2014 offensive rankings: Total yards: 5,035 (28th in NFL); Rushing yards: 1,635 (20th); Passing yards: 3,400 (23rd); Points/game: 20.3 (21st)
St. Louis' 2014 defensive rankings: Total yards allowed/game: 5,626 (17th); Rushing yards allowed/game: 1,765 (14th); Passing yards allowed/game: 3,861 (19th); Points allowed/game: 22.1 (tied for 16th); Sacks: 40 (13th); Interceptions: 13 (tied for 18th)
Icebreakers:St. Louis will make its first trip to Minnesota since New Year's Eve 2006 and do so with a stout defensive line that gained depth with the addition of former Lions DT Nick Fairley, who will join 2014 Defensive Rookie of the Year Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers, along with defensive ends Chris Long, Robert Quinn, Will Hayes and Eugene Sims. The Rams were active at quarterback this offseason in sending Sam Bradford to Philadelphia in exchange for Nick Foles and have an assortment of young running backs. Vikings backup QB Shaun Hill returned to Minnesota, where his career began in 2002, after one season with the Rams. This is a rematch of the 2014 season-opener that the Vikings claimed 34-6 down the Mississippi River.
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.*