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The best-case-scenario Vikings schedule

By Matthew Coller

It may be mock draft season, but with the announcement that the NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, we should have a look at the slate that would give the Vikings the best chance to win the NFC North again.

The criteria is simple: In which quarter of the season would it be better to play each team? Tough games on the road are followed by winnable home games. The bye comes in the middle and after a West Coast game. Best avoid runs of elite quarterbacks.

So here we go…

Week 1: at Philadelphia

It has already been reported that the Vikings will open in Philadelphia, but they wouldn’t want it any other way. Every player in purple will be looking forward to a revenge game against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs. There is no better time than the present to get it out of the way.

Week 2: vs. Arizona

Will the Vikings show a “Thank you Sam Bradford” video? Arizona is a solid opponent for the home opener. They are competitive, feature a former Vikings QB, but provide a potential bounce-back opponent in case of loss in Philly.

Week 3: vs. Miami

The Vikings should be looking for at least one game in the opening quarter of the season in which they will be heavily favored. Hello, Dolphins.

Week 4: at Chicago

Going to Soldier Field is always a party for the Vikings. Get it out of the way before the weather turns and the sod is ripped to shreds.

Week 5: vs. Detroit

The Lions have been a thorn in the Vikings’ side at home over the last two years.

Week 6: vs. Green Bay

Not that Aaron Rodgers is easy to face any time, but by midseason whatever grudge from last season’s injury should be long gone and the Vikings would hope Rodgers and his head coach/front office are at odds by then.

Week 7: at New England

Rodgers and Brady back-to-back is no fun ride, but a midseason trip to face the Pats is preferable to one with the season on the line at the end of the year.

Week 8: vs. Buffalo

The Vikings might get a look at one of the top drafted quarterbacks following the two Hall of Famers. Mike Zimmer has feasted on rookies in the past.

Week 9: at Los Angeles

Not only the trip, but the toughest game on the schedule offers great a midseason test, followed by an opportunity to recover for a tough final stretch.

Week 10: BYE

Week 11: vs San Francisco

We will have a much better sense of whether Jimmy G is for real by the second half of the year.

Week 12: at Seattle

It’s never easy to go out to Seattle. Best to face the Seahawks in their house after a bye and a home game.

Week 13: at Detroit

As long as it isn’t on Thanksgiving Day again…

Week 14: vs. New Orleans

Getting the Saints back in town earlier might have offered some good broadcast and jumbotron opportunities to show last year’s playoff highlights, but making them come back to Minneapolis with potential playoff implications makes for high drama. Put this one on Sunday Night Football.

Week 15: at New York Jets

Unless their rookie quarterback is also a magician, the Jets should be aiming for another high draft pick at this point.

Week 16: at Green Bay

It’s tradition that the Vikings play an important game on the road at Lambeau late in the season. It’s worked out two of the last three years.

Week 17: vs Chicago

The Bears are a hard team to pin down with so many offseason changes. The expectation is still that the Vikings would have a very winnable game if they needed it for playoff position.

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How do you like this version of the schedule? What would you change? What do you want to change? Leave a comment or tweet @matthewcoller

The post The best-case-scenario Vikings schedule appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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