EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Other than the NFL Draft, one of the most notable events of the offseason is the release of each team's schedule.
While that usually happens in April, the Vikings opponents have already been determined.
Taking those teams into account, we calculated Minnesota's strength of schedule for the 2016 season based on 2015 records.
The Vikings will have the 18th-toughest schedule this season, based on a 125-131 record (.488 winning percentage) in 2015 by the teams Minnesota will play in 2016.
The Vikings, the champions of the NFC North, will also play four other division winners in Carolina (15-1) and Arizona (13-3), plus Houston (9-7) and Washington (9-7).
Division rival Green Bay (10-6) is the only other team with a winning record in 2015 that Minnesota will play in 2016.
San Francisco and Atlanta are tied for the toughest strength of schedule with a 142-114 record, a .555 winning percentage.
The Packers have the easiest projected schedule in 2016. Their upcoming opponents combined for a 117-139 record in 2015, which is a .457 winning percentage.
The gap between the Vikings and their border rivals is caused because of the matchups that were determined by respective order of finish in a division. Carolina had seven more wins than Atlanta in the NFC South, and Arizona had three more wins than Seattle in the NFC West.
Minnesota's two other NFC North foes also rank near the bottom of the list.
Chicago's strength of schedule is tied for next-to-last at with a .461 winning percentage, as its opponents went 118-138 this past season.
Detroit's strength of schedule, meanwhile, is tied for 27th with a 119-137 record, a .465 winning percentage.
At the onset of the 2015 season, the Vikings strength of schedule ranked 12th in the NFL. Last year's opponents went 138-118 (.539) in 2014. The Bears ranked 13th, the Packers 14th and the Lions 15th.
Because of the commonality of opposing schedules, it's quite common to see divisional opponents near each other in the list.
The NFC North teams will play each other twice, each team from the NFC East and AFC South once and one team each from the NFC West and NFC South that corresponded with the divisional order of finish.
2015 records of teams' 2016 opponents:
- (tie) San Francisco: 142-114, .555
(tie) Atlanta Falcons: 142-114, .555
- St. Louis Rams: 141-115, .551
- New Orleans Saints: 140-116, .547
- (tie) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 139-117, .543
(tie) Seattle Seahawks: 139-117, .543
- (tie) New York Jets: 136-120, .531
(tie) Arizona Cardinals: 136-120, .531
- New England Patriots: 134-122, .523
- Buffalo Bills: 133-123, .520
- Miami Dolphins: 132-124, .516
- Carolina Panthers: 131-125, .512
- San Diego Chargers: 130-126, .508
- Denver Broncos: 129-127, .504
- Oakland Raiders: 128-128, .500
- Kansas City Chiefs: 127-129, .496
- Washington Redskins: 126-130, .492
18. Minnesota Vikings: 125-131, .488
19 (tie) Baltimore Ravens: 124-132, .484
(tie) Houston Texans: 124-132, .484
- Cleveland Browns: 123-133, .480
- Indianapolis Colts: 122-134, .477
- (tie) Pittsburgh Steelers: 121-135, .473
(tie) Jacksonville Jaguars: 121-135, .473
(tie) Tennessee Titans: 121-135, .473
- Philadelphia Eagles: 120-136, .469
- Cincinnati Bengals: 119-137, .465
(tie) Dallas Cowboys: 119-137, .465
(tie) Detroit Lions: 119-137, .465
- (tie) New York Giants: 118-138, .461
(tie) Chicago Bears: 118-138, .461
- Green Bay Packers: 117-139, .457