The Vikings’ bye week, which comes in Week 13, is their second latest in team history. By then, they’ll have played four games in prime time, including two in a row before their week off.
Following a season in which they won 13 games, claimed the NFC North title and saw Justin Jefferson win NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors, the Vikings received more national attention in the league’s 2023 schedule, which was released Thursday night. They were scheduled for a total of five prime-time games in 2023.
If all of those games remained in prime time, it would be the most the Vikings have played at night since 2018, the year they signed quarterback Kirk Cousins after reaching the NFC Championship Game. The Vikings are scheduled for three prime-time home games — one on Sunday night and two on Monday night — which would match the total from US Bank Stadium’s inaugural 2016 season as the most the Vikings have played in the stadium.
The Vikings’ first prime-time home game comes on Oct. 23, when they face the 49ers on Monday night. They will play on Nov. 27, a Monday night against the Bears, before their bye week, and face new Packers starting quarterback Jordan Love at US Bank Stadium for the first time on New Year’s Eve in a Sunday night matchup.
They will play at night on the road twice, traveling to Denver for a Sunday night game on Nov. 19. It might be their first prime-time road game, though, that ranks as their toughest.
After opening the season at home against Tampa Bay on Sept. 10, in the Buccaneers’ first game after Tom Brady’s retirement, the Vikings will travel to Philadelphia for a Thursday night game against the defending NFC champions. The Eagles beat the Vikings 24-7 on Monday night a year ago; this year’s game against the Vikings will be their home opener.
After a 10-day break and a Week 3 game at home against the Chargers, the Vikings will travel to Charlotte for an Oct. 1 matchup against the Panthers, where they’ll see former teammate Adam Thielen and presumably Bryce Young, the former Heisman Trophy winner whom Carolina drafted No. 1 overalls. Following the matchup with Young, the Vikings return home to face the Chiefs, in what would be their first regular-season game against league MVP Patrick Mahomes.
Their two October road trips — to Chicago on Oct. 15 and Green Bay on Oct. 29 — mean the Vikings will avoid a cold-weather game against their NFC North rivals. They lost 41-17 at Lambeau Field on New Year’s Day last season, when numerous Vikings players needed to change cleats after slipping on the grass surface, and finished the regular season at Soldier Field. This year, the Vikings will play both of their outdoor division games while the weather should still be warmer.
The Vikings, like all NFC teams, play nine of their 17 games on the road this season, and their trips to Chicago and Green Bay come during a stretch of four road games in six weeks. They will travel to Atlanta a week after playing in Green Bay, and make their Sunday night trip to Denver the week after playing host to the Saints. The Monday night game at home against the Bears precedes the Vikings’ bye week, which is their latest since a Week 14 bye in 1991.
Following the bye, the Vikings will make their furthest trip west — likely accompanied by a sizable contingent of their fans — as they play a regular-season game in Las Vegas for the first time. They will finish their second set of back-to-back road games the following week in Cincinnati, in a game that could be played on either Saturday or Sunday.
Their last three regular-season games are all against division opponents: The Vikings will play two of their final three against the Lions, playing host to Detroit on Christmas Eve before their Sunday night matchup against Love and the Packers on New Year’s Eve. Then, they will end the regular season on the road for the third consecutive year, heading to Ford Field for a game against the Lions that could have major playoff implications for both teams.
The schedule ranks as the NFL’s 18th-toughest, based on the collective 2022 winning percentage of the Vikings’ 2023 opponents. But while they’ll face teams with new starting quarterbacks such as Love in Green Bay, Young in Carolina, Desmond Ridder in Atlanta, Baker Mayfield in Tampa and Derek Carr in New Orleans, the Vikings will play all four conference finalists from 2022. And the Vikings’ toughest stretch of opposing quarterbacks might be the one they face within the first five weeks of the season, with matchups against the two Super Bowl starters (the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts and the Chiefs’ Mahomes) sandwiched around their Week 3 game against Justin Herbert.