The Vikings Schedule Gets Mushy after Week 7

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Minnesota Vikings
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The Minnesota Vikings have gone through a very difficult stretch of games to begin the 2023 season.

Three of their first six opponents are currently division leaders, and their Week 7 opponent (the San Francisco 49ers) makes a fourth. While the 49ers game will certainly be a massive test for Minnesota as they continue to try and build their way back into the playoff hunt, the Vikings schedule gets much easier moving forward.

The Vikings Schedule Gets Easier Very Soon

Vikings Schedule
Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell looks up at the scoreboard in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

After Week 7, the Vikings have six consecutive games against teams that currently hold records at .500 or worse:

  • Week 8 at Green Bay Packers (2-3)
  • Week 9 at Atlanta Falcons (3-3)
  • Week 10 vs. New Orleans Saints (3-3)
  • Week 11 at Denver Broncos (1-5)
  • Week 12 vs. Chicago Bears (1-5)
  • Week 13 bye
  • Week 14 at Las Vegas Raiders (3-3)

Even if the Vikings lose on Monday night and fall to 2-5, they should go into this stretch with a sense of urgency. All three of Green Bay, Atlanta, and New Orleans currently sit ahead of the Vikings by one game or less in the NFC standings.

If they win those three games and find their way back to .500, they are all of a sudden back in the mix with games against floundering Denver and Chicago teams before their bye. By then, there is a chance that star receiver Justin Jefferson can be back on the field after his stint on IR.

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) prepares to throw a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

None of these next six opponents for the Vikings have necessarily proven themselves to be powerhouses to this point in the year. Here is where they all rank according to DVOA through six weeks in the season:

  • Atlanta: 26th
  • Green Bay: 21st
  • New Orleans: 13th
  • Denver: 30th
  • Chicago: 29th
  • Las Vegas: 27th

The Vikings rank ahead of five of theses six teams by the metric, smack-dab in the middle at 16th. The only team above them is the Saints, but again, that game would be the first where Justin Jefferson is eligible to return from IR.

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) reacts in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

EPA rankings tell a very similar story. Currently, Minnesota ranks 18th in that department and are higher than four of their next six opponents:

  • Atlanta: 20th
  • Green Bay: 17th
  • New Orleans: 9th
  • Denver: 31st
  • Chicago: 29th
  • Las Vegas: 23rd

Again, EPA considers the Saints to among the playoff contenders, and Green Bay sits one spot ahead of Minnesota. However, the other four fall a good bit behind the Vikings.

Of course, opponents should never be overlooked at the NFL level. Especially if the Vikings fall on Monday, it will be a difficult path for them to put things together and make the playoffs. It certainly looks like there is a path, though, if the Vikings can take care of business in this upcoming seven-week stretch of games.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.