5 Takeaways from the Vikings 2023 Schedule

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Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings 2023 schedule was officially released on Thursday, and there are plenty of things to be excited about within this new slate of games for the team this year. Today, we are going to go over five takeaways from this schedule and how it is laid out.

Lots of Bright Lights

Feb 9, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, US; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson poses for a photo after receiving the award for AP Offensive Player during the NFL Honors award show at Symphony Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin O’Connell’s second NFL season as a head coach is going to be under far brighter lights than his first season was. During 2022, the Vikings played just two primetime games all year despite going 13-4.

Well, the NFL seems set on ensuring that no one misses out on this purple team in 2023 because the Vikings are set to play five games in primetime, including a pair of Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football games.

Minnesota hasn’t had this much primetime attention since 2018 when they also played five games under the lights following their 2017 season when they made the NFC Championship Game. Ultimately, that 2018 season ended in a disappointing 8-7-1 finish, but hopefully, the Vikings have a different outcome this time around.

Short Week in Philadelphia

Vikings 2023 Schedule
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins vs. Eagles. Lincoln Financial Field. © Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

For the second consecutive season, the Vikings will head to Philadelphia in Week 2 for their first primetime game of the year. This time around, though, the matchup takes place on a short week rather than a long week. In 2022, the game took place on a Monday night whereas in 2023 it will be on a Thursday night. Last year’s game ended in a 24-7 loss.

A Fight for the Division at the End of the Year?

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Dec 5, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports.

Typically, the end of the regular season in the NFL is set aside for scheduling games with division rivals. This creates the largest chance for drama, especially in a competitive division that could have multiple teams fighting for playoff positioning.

The league seems to be banking on the Vikings being fully in the mix for the NFC North crown once again in 2023 because each of the final three games on their schedule are against NFC North rivals. They have a Sunday Night Football game against the Green Bay Packers in Week 17 and two games against the Detroit Lions in Weeks 16 and 18.

No International Games

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Dec 20, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports.

We knew about this yesterday already, but the Vikings do not have an international game on their schedule in 2023. This means that they will, in fact, play nine true road games this season compared to only having seven of them in 2022 due to being the ‘visitor’ against the New Orleans Saints in London.

This has some repercussions for the future as well, though. Because the NFL expanded to a 17-game schedule, they’ve come out with a new rule that each team will host an international game every eight years. The Vikings haven’t done that yet. With 2024 being the fourth year of the cycle, the odds continue to grow that Minnesota will play a home game outside of U.S. Bank Stadium.

A Late Bye

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Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) and quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

In each of the past three seasons since 2020, the Vikings have had Week 7 byes. This is particularly early on in the schedule, especially in the new 18-week format. However, 2023 flips that on its head, and the Vikings will actually have a late bye this season, with it taking place in Week 13. This could be a chance to re-group before making a final push for the playoffs.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. 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.