Vikings schedule analysis

Posted Aug. 03, 2011 @ 11:15 a.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

Here's a quick look at the Vikings' schedule:

It's a tough early test for the Vikings, who have quite the opening quartet of games. They head to San Diego for the opener against a Chargers team that was disappointing a year ago but could be an AFC West champion this season.

Then it's back home for a pair of games against teams that finished 2010 strong and enter this season as intriguing: the Buccaneers and Lions, both of whom have quality young quarterbacks.

In Week Four, the Vikings head to Kansas City — Arrowhead Stadium is always a tough place to play — to face the Chiefs, who were one of last season's surprise teams.

Things soften up a bit, perhaps, with the Cardinals in Week Five, but it's back at it with a huge divisional double bill — the Bears in Chicago in Week Six and home against the hated Packers in Week Seven.

Following the Panthers game in Carolina and the Week Nine bye, the Vikings get another cheese course with the Packers in Green Bay, a game by which we could find out if the Vikings are still in contention, especially if they are starting a rookie quarterback in Christian Ponder.

Three non-division games will follow: the Raiders (home) in Week 11, the Falcons (in Atlanta, where the Falcons have been tough to beat in recent seasons) in Week 12 and the Broncos (home) in Week 13.

The final quartet of games — two home, two away — includes two division games with the Lions (at Detroit) in Week 14 and the Bears (at home) in Week 17, and don't overlook the potent Saints in Week 15 and the Redskins, a true wild-card club, in Week 16.

This is no easy slate for the Vikings.