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Analyzing Vikings 1st Quarter of 2020 Schedule: Packers, Colts, Titans and Texans

By now, you've seen the entire Vikings 2020 NFL schedule, which was released last Thursday, and know that the 60th season in franchise history is scheduled to open against the Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium.

After Green Bay's first-ever trip to Minnesota in a Week 1 game between NFC North rivals, the Vikings will then play AFC South members in three consecutive games, visiting the Indianapolis Colts, hosting the Tennessee Titans and visiting the Houston Texans.

That's three playoff teams from a year ago right out of the gate.

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Take a Next Gen Stats look at the Vikings opponents in 2020. For more Next Gen Stats, be sure to check out nextgenstats.nfl.com.

Here's a look at the series history, 2019 stats, roster changes and some 2020 icebreakers for the first quarter of the Vikings season:

Week 1

Vikings vs Packers | by @LindseyMNSports

Noon (CT) | Sunday, Sept. 13 | U.S. Bank Stadium

Series Results

Vikings W-L-T: 54-62-3 (including 1-1 in the playoffs)

Home: 29-29-0; Away: 25-33-3

Last time in regular season: Packers defeated Vikings 23-10 in Minnesota on Dec. 23, 2019

Last time in regular season in Minnesota: Packers defeated Vikings 23-10 on Dec. 23, 2019

2019 Stats

Green Bay offense

RB Aaron Jones tied for the NFL lead with 16 rushing touchdowns.

Green Bay improved its time of possession from 29:38 (tied for 20th) in 2018 to 31:28 (fifth) last season.

Green Bay defense

Green Bay boosted its season-long interceptions total from seven in 2018 to 17 last season thanks to five picks by Kevin King.

The Packers improved situationally in 2019 over the previous season by allowing a goal-to-go touchdown percentage of 59.3 percent (fourth stingiest in NFL), compared to 78.6 percent (21st in NFL) in 2018.

Roster Refresher

Added: WR Devin Funchess, T Rick Wagner and LB Christian Kirksey

First two picks of 2020 NFL Draft: Utah State QB Jordan Love at No. 26 overall and Boston College RB A.J. Dillon at 62

Departed (new team if player has signed)/contract expired: T Bryan Bulaga (Chargers), T Jared Veldheer, LB Blake Martinez (Giants), LB Kyler Fackrell (Giants), TE Jimmy Graham (Bears), WR Geronimo Allison (Lions) and Tramon Williams

Icebreakers

The Packers are entering their second season under Head Coach Matt LaFleur, who in 2019 helped lead the team to the NFC Championship game. … QB Aaron Rodgers notched his eighth career 4,000-yard season, eclipsing the benchmark by two yards. … CB Kevin King led the Packers in interceptions with five. … OLB Za'Darius Smith led the team with 13.5 sacks and was followed by fellow OLB Preston Smith's 12. … Green Bay ranked 31st in the league in punt returns, averaging just 4.9 yards per attempt, but the Packers ranked fifth in the NFL in field goal percentage at 91.7.

Week 2

Vikings at Colts | by @LindseyMNSports

Noon (CT) | Sunday, Sept. 20 | Lucas Oil Stadium

Series Results

Vikings W-L-T: 7-17-1 (including 0-1 in the playoffs)

Home: 7-6-1; Away: 0-11-0

Last time in regular season: Colts defeated Vikings 34-6 in Minnesota on Dec. 18, 2016

Last time in regular season at Indianapolis: Colts defeated Vikings 23-20 on Sept. 16, 2012

2019 Stats

Indianapolis offense

The Colts improved their ground game total by 412 yards in 2019 from the previous season. Indianapolis went from ranking 20th in the NFL with 107.4 rushing yards per game to 7th with 133.1 per game.

Indianapolis ranked 29th in the NFL with a field-goal percentage of 70.97 in 2019.

Indianapolis defense

LB Darius Leonard led Indianapolis in interceptions with five and earned a Pro Bowl selection, despite only playing in 13 games last season.

The Colts defense led the NFL in goal-to-go percentage, allowing opponents to score touchdowns on just 51.9 percent of trips inside the 10.

Roster Refresher

Added: Former Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes, QB Philip Rivers, DT DeForest Buckner, DT Sheldon Day, CB T.J. Carrie, TE Trey Burton

First two picks of 2020 NFL Draft: Southern California WR Michael Pittman, Jr., at No. 34 overall and Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor at 41

Departed (new team if player has signed)/contract expired: CB Pierre Desir (Jets), T Joe Haeg (Buccaneers), QB Brian Hoyer (Patriots), WR Devin Funchess (Packers), TE Eric Ebron (Steelers), DE Margus Hunt (Saints), WR Dontrell Inman, WR Chester Rogers, S Clayton Geathers, K Adam Vinatieri

Icebreakers

The Vikings have never defeated the Colts on the road, including when the team was in Baltimore. Minnesota and Indianapolis have faced each other just five times since the turn of the century, and Indy has won each matchup. … Colts QB Andrew Luck announced his retirement during the 2019 preseason and was replaced by backup Jacoby Brissett, who finished the season 272-of-447 passing for 2,942 yards with 18 touchdowns and six interceptions. … RB Marlon Mack racked up 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns on 247 carries. … The Colts were 0-7 in 2019 when opponents scored 26 or more points.

The Vikings are set to celebrate their 60th NFL season in 2020. This Vikings 2020 NFL Schedule Gallery features key foes and offers a look at some throwback moments — near and far — against Minnesota's opponents.

Week 3

Vikings vs. Titans | by @Eric_L_Smith

Noon (CT) | Sunday, Sept. 27 | U.S. Bank Stadium

Series Results

Vikings W-L-T: 9-4 (includes Titans time as Oilers)

Home: 7-1; Away: 2-3

Last time in regular season: Vikings defeated Titans 25-16 at Nashville on Sept. 11, 2016

Last time in regular season in Minnesota: Vikings defeated Titans 30-7 on Oct. 7, 2012

2019 Stats

Tennessee offense

Titans running back Derrick Henry won the 2019 rushing title with 1,540 yards and tied for the league lead with 16 rushing touchdowns.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill set a career high — and led the league — with a passer rating of 117.5.

Tennessee defense

The Titans allowed 20 or fewer points in 10 games and ranked 12th in the league at 20.7 points allowed per game.

Safety Kevin Byard recorded five interceptions in 2019, which tied for fourth in the league. He has picked off at least four passes in each of the past four seasons.

Roster Refresher

Added: Edge rusher Vic Beasley, CB Johnathan Joseph, T Ty Sambrailo, DB Ibraheim Campbell, G Zac Kerin, RB Senorise Perry, CB Tye Smith, OL Avery Gennesy and DL Jack Crawford

First two picks of 2020 NFL Draft: Georgia T Isaiah Wilson at No. 29 overall and LSU CB Kristian Fulton at 61

Departed (new team if player has signed)/contract expired: QB Marcus Mariota (Raiders), RB Dion Lewis (Giants), WR Tajae Sharpe (Vikings), TE Delanie Walker, T Jack Conklin (Browns), DT Jurrell Casey (Broncos), LB Wesley Woodyard, Edge Cameron Wake and CB Logan Ryan

Icebreakers

Tennessee is led by Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel, who is entering his third season with the team. He went 9-7 in each of his first two years in Nashville. … The Titans were the No. 6 seed in the AFC last season, but they advanced to the AFC title game by upsetting third-seeded New England and top-seeded Baltimore before falling to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Chiefs in Kansas City. … The Titans are looking to make back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Tennessee's most-recent division title was claimed in 2008. … Minnesota scored a pair of defensive touchdowns in the previous meeting between the teams, back in Week 1 of the 2016 season. Eric Kendricks returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown, and Danielle Hunter scored from 24 yards out on return of a fumble recovery. … The Vikings are 3-0 at home against the Titans/Oilers since the franchise moved from Houston to Nashville.

Week 4

Vikings at Texans | by @Eric_L_Smith

Noon (CT) | Sunday, Oct. 4 | NRG Stadium

Series Results

Vikings W-L-T: 4-0

Home: 2-0; Away: 2-0

Last time in regular season: Vikings defeated Texans 31-13 in Minnesota on Oct. 9, 2016

Last time in regular season at Houston: Vikings defeated Texans 23-6 on Dec. 23, 2012

2019 Stats

Houston offense

Quarterback Deshaun Watson set a career-high with 33 total touchdowns in 15 games in 2019. He threw for 26 scores for the second straight season and added seven rushing touchdowns, which tied for second among quarterbacks.

DeAndre Hopkins, who was traded to Arizona in March, led the Texans with 1,165 yards in 2019, marking the seventh time in eight seasons that Houston has had a 1,000-yard receiver.

Houston defense

The Texans forced 22 turnovers in 2019, which tied for 15th in the NFL, and Houston's turnover differential also ranked 15th at an even zero.

Houston's defense ranked 19th in the league after allowing 24.1 points per game in a roller-coaster season. The Texans had six games where they held an opponent to 20 or fewer points and six games in which opponents scored 30 or more points.

Roster Refresher

Added: WR Randall Cobb, WR Brandin Cooks, DT Timmy Jernigan, RB David Johnson, S Eric Murray, T Brent Qvale and DB Jaylen Watkins

First two picks of 2020 NFL Draft: TCU DT Ross Blacklock at No. 40 overall and Florida LB Jonathan Greenard at 90

Departed (new team if player has signed)/contract expired: WR DeAndre Hopkins (Cardinals), RB Carlos Hyde, RB Lamar Miller, DT D.J. Reader (Bengals), LB Barkevious Mingo (Bears), CB Johnathan Joseph (Titans), S Jahleel Addae, S Mike Adams (Retired) and S Tashaun Gipson (Bears)

Icebreakers

This will be the Vikings third trip to play the Texans in franchise history, as Minnesota looks to stay perfect in the series history. … Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien is entering his seventh season in Houston. He was hired in the same offseason that Minnesota hired Mike Zimmer. O'Brien is 52-44 in regular-season games and has won back-to-back AFC South titles. … All four AFC division winners, including the Texans, repeated as division champions in 2019. … Houston recently traded for Cooks, who has 34 total touchdown catches in 88 career games. … Defensive end J.J. Watt played in just eight games due to injuries in 2019. He is a five-time All-Pro and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

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