Vikings Schedule Prediction: Tough Opening Test Before Winnable Games

Nov 1, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) celebrates with offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland (72) after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the time in the offseason when a little more creativity is required to fill the football void. Indeed, news isn’t as abundant as it will be toward the end of July, so I’m taking this chance to offer up a schedule prediction for the Vikings. We’ll chop up the schedule, putting together bite-sized pieces rather than one gargantuan article. Shout out to Vikings.com for helping with the game details, PFR for the stats, and PFF for the roster info & grades.

Week 1 – Packers, Sept. 11, 3:25 p.m.

The schedule makers knew what they were doing with this one.

Vikings fans are going to be equal parts excited and nervous in Week 1. The division-rival Packers have won the North for three-straight seasons. They’ll be looking to make it four in a row without the help of Davante Adams, arguably the best receiver in the NFL.

Aaron Rodgers is a great player, but I”m more nervous about their defense. Kenny Clark, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, De’Vondre Campbell, Adrian Amos, and Jaire Alexander are all excellent players (and the talent doesn’t stop there). Minnesota’s skill should provide a challenge, but GB has the potential to be a top defense in 2022. I hate to say it, but they’ve got the edge in Week 1.

Prediction: GB 31 – MN 21

Week 2 – @ Eagles, Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. (MNF)

Expect a ton of “Kirk Cousins in Prime Time” articles. The veteran will get another shot at undermining one of the most consistent criticisms sent in his direction (there are several).

On the other side will be Jalen Hurts. He had a mere 16 TD passes last season, a number that’s even less impressive upon considering his 9 INTs. He did, however, run for 784 yards and 10 TDs, so Minnesota will need to be really sharp on defense. Last season, Hurts created a lot of issues for an impressive Denver defense. A.J. Brown is the new WR1, and Dallas Goedert is an excellent player (he had a 90.7 score on PFF last season).

Defensively, they won’t be as strong as Green Bay. Keep in mind, though, that they partnered James Bradberry with Darius Slay at corner. Former Vikings Marcus Epps and Anthony Harris are at safety, and their DL still has Fletcher Cox (who is still really good). Even still, I’m looking for a bounceback from Minnesota, bringing their record up to .500.

Prediction: MN 34 – PHI 27

Week 3 – Lions, Sept. 25, 12:00 p.m.

We ought not overlook the Lions. Many did last season (including yours truly) and things went poorly. Jared Goff got his first win with Detroit with a last-second TD pass. One wonders if it was a game that basically sealed Mike Zimmer’s fate.

The Lions, in all likelihood, will be better in 2022 (Adam New takes on this topic for VT). They actually have some strong talent along both the OL and DL. Frank Ragnow, Penei Sewell, Taylor Decker, Romeo Okwara, and Aidan Hutchinson are all good players. Plus, Amon-Ra St. Brown and T.J. Hockenson are going to be difficult to cover. Both will test Minnesota’s new defense.

Regardless, this ought to be win #2 for the Vikings. Detroit is still rebuilding; Minnesota, in contrast, has decided to push for a 2022 Super Bowl. They have far more talent.

Prediction: MN 27 – DET 13