The NFL announced the 2014 schedule on Wednesday night and with that brought the 16 dates and times for the Minnesota Vikings. It is very clear that fans should be planning to be home a lot at noon on Sundays with 14 of their team’s 16 games being played then. It is interesting that the team isn’t getting any love for a late Sunday spot with Adrian Peterson on the roster and good teams coming to TCF Bank Stadium to face the Vikings. Also, flex scheduling is now in effect starting in Week 5 so some game times could be changed starting with the team’s Week 6 game.
However with the schedule out, it is time to break down each game and take a guess at how the Vikings will do this season. It is a very difficult early schedule for sure before it lightens up some later on. I tried this earlier in the spring without the dates and times and came up with a decent record for Minnesota. Here is a look at the 2014 Vikings schedule with all game times in Central time.
- Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 7 at St. Louis Rams (Noon, Fox)- The Vikings hit the road to open the season with this game in St. Louis. The Rams are very dangerous at home and have a great defense which will make this game hard to win. St. Louis comes away with the win.
- Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 14 vs. New England Patriots (Noon, CBS)- The first home game comes against Tom Brady and company. Brady may be getting a bit older and his skills may be declining a little but the Vikings probably can’t a find to win this one even at home.
- Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 21 at New Orleans Saints (Noon, Fox)- A trip to visit Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham will give the Vikings’ secondary a definite test. It is going to take a lot for Minnesota to win this one. They will keep it close but can’t pull it out.
- Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 28 vs. Atlanta Falcons (3:25 p.m., Fox)- The rough start continues with Matt Ryan coming in. This game however is one where the Vikings can win if they can make Atlanta one-dimensional which is not hard to do. The Falcons still win however.
- Week 5: Thursday, Oct. 2 at Green Bay Packers (7:25 p.m., CBS/NFL Network)- A short week and the first divisional game against Aaron Rodgers. If Rodgers is his normal self, the Vikings are going to be looking at a 0-5 start to their season.
- Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 12 vs. Detroit Lions (Noon, Fox)- After that first five-game stretch, this game at home against the Lions will be a relief. Peterson seems to have luck against Detroit in the past and that should lead the Vikings to a win here.
- Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 19 at Buffalo Bills (Noon, Fox)- The key to this game is how the weather is in early October. By this point, the lake effect is always possible but if it is a good day, Minnesota is a better team on paper than the Bills and should win.
- Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 26 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Noon, Fox)- Tampa is improving and will have Doug Martin back to start the new year but they still aren’t an elite team. This is a great chance for the Vikings to win three straight games.
- Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 2 vs. Washington Redskins (Noon, Fox)- The final game before the bye comes at home against Robert Griffin III. The revamped Washington offense is going to be powerful and is likely going to give the Vikings fits all day.
- Week 10: Bye- At this point, the Vikings would be 3-6 if all goes right. It is a perfect time for a week off especially with four of the last six games being at home to end the season.
- Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 16 at Chicago Bears (Noon, Fox)- The first time that the Vikings will see the powerful Bears offense. It is going to be hard for the Vikings to slow down all the weapons the Bears have right now.
- Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 23 vs. Green Bay Packers (Noon, Fox)- A chance at redemption against the Pack. This game will be close one way or another but Green Bay is likely still going to have too much for the Vikings to handle this season at least.
- Week 13: Sunday, Nov. 30 vs. Carolina Panthers (Noon, Fox)- Carolina has a great defense but their offense has been tamed some by the loss of Steve Smith. This is a game that the Vikings can win at home especially in the colder conditions.
- Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 7 vs. New York Jets (Noon, CBS)- The third straight home game brings the Jets to town. While New York has improved a lot this offseason, the Vikings should be able to carry Peterson to the victory.
- Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 14 at Detroit Lions (Noon, Fox)- A second game with the Lions on the road. Detroit is likely going to be in the playoff race but seems to have trouble closing the deal. The Vikings pull off the upset.
- Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 21 at Miami Dolphins (Noon, Fox)- A lovely trip to South Beach in December will make everyone happy. The Dolphins are looking really good though and are getting better. This would have been a win a year from now but not in 2014.
- Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 28 vs. Chicago Bears (Noon, Fox)- The season finale is the team’s fourth home game in five weeks. Chicago will have a lot of pressure on them but seems to be on track for a big year and takes down the Vikings again which would leave Minnesota with a 7-9 record in 2014.