The Vikings ****announced their 2018 schedule*** on Thursday. The Vikings.com crew will break down the 16-game slate into four quarters during this Icebreakers series that is presented by*** Ticketmaster***.*
The third quarter of the Vikings season includes three division games, two at home (against Detroit in Week 9 and Green Bay in Week 12) and one on the road in Chicago (Week 11).
The games against the Lions and at the Bears will be separated by Minnesota's Week 10 bye, which is the latest of any team in the NFC North.
This tough stretch doesn't appear that it will get any easier, because the four-game span wraps with a rare trip to New England to face the AFC Champion Patriots for a 3:25 p.m. (CT) kickoff that is likely to be shown throughout most of the country.
The games against the Vikings three most-common opponents and one of the rarest will be an important stretch.
Note: all times listed are subject to change because of the NFL's flex scheduling.
Vikings vs. Lionsby **@PCraigers**
Noon (CT) | Nov. 4 | U.S. Bank Stadium
Vikings W-L-T: 72-39-2
Home: 39-16-1; Away: 33-23-1
Last time in regular season:Vikings defeated Lions 30-23 on Nov. 23, 2017 (Thanksgiving Day)
Last time in regular season in Minnesota:Lions defeated Vikings 14-7 on Oct. 1, 2017
Detroit's 2017 offensive rankings:
Total yards: 5,404 (13th in NFL); Rushing yards: 1,221 (32nd); Passing yards: 4,183 (6th); Points/game: 25.6 (7th); Sacks allowed/pass attempt percentage: 8.25 percent (24th); Interception rate: 1.93 percent (9th); Average time of possession: 29:48 (19th)
Detroit's 2017 defensive rankings:
Total yards allowed/game: 355.8 (27th); Rushing yards allowed/game: 112.5 (18th); Passing yards allowed/game: 243.3 (27th); Points allowed/game: 23.5 (21st); Sacks/pass attempt: 6.14 percent (23rd); Interception rate: 3.33 percent (5th)
Icebreakers:The longstanding series has been pivotal in the NFC North standings in recent years. The Lions swept the Vikings in 2014 and 2016 en route to postseason berths, and the Vikings did so in 2015 to win the NFC North. Minnesota suffered its only home loss in 2017 at the hands of Detroit (14-7), but the Vikings spoiled the Lions Thanksgiving home-game tradition on the way to another NFC North title. … The Lions hired Matt Patricia as head coach and Paul Pasqualoni as defensive coordinator this offseason. Detroit retained Jim Bob Cooter as offensive coordinator. … Road teams are 4-12 in two seasons at U.S. Bank Stadium, but the Lions are 2-0. … Former Lions tackle Riley Reiff proved to be a key addition for the Vikings in 2017.
View the Vikings 2018 schedule in photos.
Week 10 — Bye
This placement allows the Vikings to rest and recharge amidst a tough run of games.
Vikings at Bearsby **@EricLSmith**
Noon (CT) | Nov. 18 | Soldier Field
Vikings W-L-T: 60-52-2 (including one playoff game)
Home: 37-21; Away: 23-31-2
Last time in regular season:Vikings defeated Bears 23-10 on Dec. 31, 2017, in Minneapolis
Last time in regular season in Chicago:Vikings defeated Bears 20-17 on Oct. 9, 2017
Chicago's 2017 offensive rankings:
Total yards: 4,599 (30th in NFL); Rushing yards: 1,788 (16th); Passing yards: 2,811 (32nd); Points/game: 16.5 (29th); Sacks allowed/pass attempt percentage: 8.25 percent (23rd); Interception rate: 2.54 percent (22nd); Average time of possession: 28:41 (28th)
Chicago's 2017 defensive rankings:
Total yards allowed/game: 319.1 (10th); Rushing yards allowed/game: 108.1 (11th); Passing yards allowed/game: 211.0 (7th); Points allowed/game: 20.0 (9th); Sacks/pass attempt: 7.94 percent (6th); Interception rate: 1.51 percent (29th)
Icebreakers:The Vikings snagged a rare road win at Soldier Field in 2017. Vikings safety Harrison Smith picked off Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky with just over two minutes remaining to set up a 26-yard field goal by Kai Forbath with 12 seconds remaining to secure a 20-17 win. The victory was the Vikings second win in Chicago in the past 10 seasons, but second in four seasons under Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer. … Chicago's defense was a top-10 unit in both points and yards allowed per game in 2017 … Defensive end Akiem Hicks led the Bears with 8.5 sacks while Bryce Callahan, Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson each had a pair of interceptions … Jackson had a pair of defensive touchdowns (one interception and one fumble) in his rookie season.
Vikings vs. Packers by**@LindseyMNSports**
7:20 p.m. (CT) | Nov. 25 | U.S. Bank Stadium
Vikings W-L-T: 53-60-2 (includes 1-1 in the postseason)
Home: 28-28-0; Away: 25-32-2
Last time in regular season:Vikings defeated Packers 16-0 at Green Bay on Dec. 23, 2017
Last time in regular season in Minnesota:Vikings defeated Packers 23-10 at U.S. Bank Stadium on Oct. 15, 2017
Green Bay's 2017 offensive rankings:
Total yards: 4,891 (26th in NFL); Rushing yards: 1,724 (17th); Passing yards: 3,167 (25th); Points/game: 20 (21st); Sacks allowed/pass attempt percentage: 9.07 percent (27th); Interception rate: 3.20 percent (27th); Average time of possession: 28:47 (26th)
Green Bay's 2017 defensive rankings:
Total yards allowed/game: 348.9 (22nd); Rushing yards allowed/game: 112.1 (17th); Passing yards allowed/game: 236.8 (23rd); Points allowed/game: 24 (26th); Sacks/pass attempt: 7.21 percent (10th); Interception rate: 2.14 percent (19th)
Icebreakers:This matchup will be the 117th time the Vikings and Packers face off in a Border Battle and will mark the Packers third trip to U.S. Bank Stadium since its opening in 2016. … The Vikings have won four of the past five matchups against the division rivals, including sweeping the series in 2017. … Packers QB Aaron Rodgers did not play in the teams' last meeting; Rodgers was sidelined for the majority of the season after suffering a broken collarbone at Minnesota in Week 6. … In the Week 16 game, the Vikings defense held Green Bay scoreless for the first time since 1971. … The Packers receivers were limited to fewer than 40 yards apiece. … In 2017, the Packers ranked third in red zone percentage (61.9) and seventh in goal-to-go percentage (78.3); the Vikings ranked ninth in both categories. … Both teams have made significant free agency additions; the Packers signed five-time Pro Bowl TE Jimmy Graham, who has played for the Saints and Seahawks over eight seasons in the NFL.
Vikings at Patriotsby **@EricLSmith**
3:25 p.m. | Dec. 2 | Gillette Stadium
Vikings W-L-T: 4-8
Home: 2-3; Away: 2-5
Last time in regular season:Patriots defeated Vikings 30-7 on Sept. 14, 2014, in Minneapolis
Last time in regular season in New England:Patriots defeated Vikings 28-18 on Oct. 31, 2010
New England's 2017 offensive rankings:
Total yards: 6,307 (1st in NFL); Rushing yards: 1,889 (10th); Passing yards: 4,418 (2nd); Points/game: 28.6 (T-2nd); Sacks allowed/pass attempt percentage: 5.96 percent (12th); Interception rate: 1.36 percent (2nd); Average time of possession: 30:37 (11th)
New England's 2017 defensive rankings:
Total yards allowed/game: 366.0 (29th); Rushing yards allowed/game: 114.8 (20th); Passing yards allowed/game: 251.3 (30th); Points allowed/game: 18.5 (5th); Sacks/pass attempt: 7.12 percent (12th); Interception rate: 2.03 percent (21st)
Icebreakers:The Vikings will go up against the gold standard of the NFL for the past two decades. The Patriots have played in nine Super Bowls (with five victories) over the previous 22 seasons, including Super Bowl LII in Minnesota this past February. … Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick has 250 career regular-season wins, which is tied for fourth all-time with Tom Landry. … New England quarterback Tom Brady has won three NFL MVP awards and is a four-time Super Bowl MVP. Brady is tied for third (with Drew Brees) with 488 career touchdown passes and is fourth in NFL history with 66,159 passing yards. … Since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002, the Patriots have a record of 108-21 at home. … The Vikings have lost four straight games against the Patriots, with Minnesota's most-recent victory coming in a 21-13 road win in 2000. Daunte Culpepper threw for a pair of touchdowns.