If there’s one word to describe the Minnesota Vikings’ 2021 season, it would be middling.
There were signs of a good team in there; star wideout Justin Jefferson followed up his breakout 2020 campaign with an even better 2021, griddying his way to 1,616 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns en route to a second straight Pro Bowl appearance. Danielle Hunter was a stud when he saw the field, posting six sacks in seven games. Dalvin Cook was still Dalvin Cook, racking up nearly five yards per carry in 2021.
Still, Minnesota wasn’t quite able to put it all together. The team toiled in late-game situations; eight of the Vikings’ nine losses were by eight points or fewer, a stunning stat.
All that amounted to a meh 8-9 record. Now, there’s room for improvement, obviously. The Packers lost Davante Adams, perhaps the league’s best receiver. Aaron Rodgers is getting older.
Still, it seems hard to imagine Minnesota mounting a serious challenge with Rodgers and Green Bay for the divisional crown. A push for a wild-card appearance feels a little more likely.
Here is a complete breakdown of the Vikings’ 2022 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis for all 17 games.
Minnesota Vikings schedule 2022
The Vikings’ schedule will be unveiled as part of the NFL’s schedule release on Thursday, May 12.
- Home: Bears, Lions, Packers, Cowboys, Giants, Cardinals, Jets, Patriots, Colts
- Away: Bears, Lions, Packers, Eagles, Commanders, Saints, Bills, Dolphins
|2||Sept. 19 (MNF)||at Eagles||8:30 p.m. ET||ABC|
|4||Oct. 2||Saints (at London)||9:30 a.m. ET||NFLN|
Six of the teams the Vikings will face in 2022 reached the playoffs in 2021. However, only one team of those teams won a game in the 2022 playoffs: the Bills. Minnesota will take on Green Bay, Dallas, Arizona and New England at home. The Vikings will travel to face off with Green Bay, Philadelphia and Buffalo, as well.
Vikings strength of schedule
The Vikings’ 2022 opponents went a combined 139-148-2, a .484 winning percentage that is the 20th-strongest in the NFL.
Toughest tests: Despite a fairly relaxed schedule, the Vikings face a handful of teams with aspirations for deep playoff runs. Divisional rival Green Bay is always a competitive side with Aaron Rodgers under center, and despite the departure of star wide receiver Davante Adams, it’s hard to imagine the Vikings competing with the Packers for the NFC North crown. Meanwhile, Minnesota is set to host the Cardinals in one of the season’s most interesting propositions. If they can find the form that helped them race out to an 8-0 start in 2021, it’s certain to be a challenging matchup.
On the AFC side, Minnesota is set to take on AFC East powerhouses Buffalo and New England. Both teams possess the sort of well-balanced offensive and defensive units to potentially frustrate the Vikings. And both sides figure to play pivotal roles in determining who will make it out the AFC come next February.
Biggest breaks: All in all, though, Minnesota’s schedule isn’t terribly imposing. They will get a reprieve from their tougher NFC North battles with the Packers with four games against the lowly Lions and Bears. Perhaps Justin Fields will grow going into his second season as the centerpiece of Chicago’s offense, and perhaps Detroit, fueled by second overall selection Aidan Hutchinson, can turn things around slightly and get itself looking more competitive come 2022. However, both teams combined for a 9-24-1 record in 2021. Minnesota should be licking its lips at the chance to beat up on the NFC North bottom feeders.
The Vikings are also set to take on the Giants and Jets. Tyreek Hill is great, as is Saquon Barkley (when fully healthy and up to speed). But it’s hard to see a world where the Jets and Giants, who posted matching 4-13 records in 2021, will be able to compete with Minnesota’s blend of athleticism and skill.
Bottom line: The Vikings are a weird team. They have Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson, two of the best players at their position in the entire NFL. They have Adam Thielen, one of the league’s truly great red zone threats. Minnesota’s defense isn’t too shabby, either; the Vikings notched 16 interceptions in 2021, tied for the sixth-most in the league. Couple that with a pass rush that was among the NFL’s best in 2021 (51 sacks, second-best total in the league) and you’re looking at a team that has all the makings of a good side.
However, when push comes to shove, it’s hard to pick Kirk Cousins over Aaron Rodgers. Although the team has some promise, it still feels as if they’re second-best in their division, lacking some of the experience that the Rodgers-led Packers have. With a fairly relaxed schedule, Minnesota should fight for a playoff spot. But, there are no guarantees for them, as was the case last year.
Record prediction: 9-8