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Vikings Slated for 4 Prime Time Games in 2016

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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Fresh off an 11-5 record and an NFC North title, the Minnesota Vikings are scheduled to play at least four prime time games in 2016.

The Vikings won't waste much time before getting under the bright lights as they'll open U.S. Bank Stadium for the regular season in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football at 7:30 p.m. (CT) on Sept. 18.

Minnesota will  host to the New York Giants two weeks later on *Monday Night Football *at 7:30 p.m. (CT) on Oct. 3.

The Vikings will return to Monday Night Football on Oct. 31 for a road division tilt against the Chicago Bears in Week 8 that is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. (CT) kickoff.

Minnesota wraps up its scheduled prime time slate on Thursday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys at 7:25 p.m. (CT) on Dec. 1.

While prime time games are usually doled out to teams who fared well the season before, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said his team will be out to prove themselves once again.

"I think you earn these kind of opportunities to play in prime time games and in front of big crowds," Zimmer said. "We haven't earned it this year yet, but from what we did a year ago it seems like we've earned these opportunities."

The Vikings could see additional prime time games in 2016 if they are flexed into the Sunday night slot.

Flex scheduling begins in Week 5 and goes until Week 17. Only Sunday afternoon games can be moved to Sunday Night Football.

The Vikings are 49-57 all-time in prime time games (26-31 on Monday Night Football, 6-9 on Thursday Night Football and 17-17 on Sunday Night Football).

The Vikings played in four prime time games in 2015, losing the season opener on Monday Night Football against the 49ers and a matchup on Thursday Night Football against Arizona in Week 14.

But Minnesota was victorious in prime time games over the final two weeks of the regular season as the Vikings were flexed into Sunday Night Football.

The Vikings beat the New York Giants at home in Week 16 to clinch a postseason berth before traveling to Lambeau Field to defeat the Green Bay Packers and secure the NFC North championship.

The Vikings will see their division-rival Packers early on in the first regular season game at U.S. Bank Stadium and then visit Green Bay on Christmas Eve in Week 16

"I think it's great for our fans," Zimmer said. "We get a division rival, a night game, prime time to really open the new stadium.

"Anytime you play Green Bay, it's a cranked up affair," Zimmer added. "It should be an awful fun evening."

View images of the Vikings opponents after the 2016 schedule was released on Thursday.

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