As you may or may not have heard, the NFL will officially release the entire schedule for the 2009 NFL season tonight at 6 PM Central time. The announcement will be shown on the NFL Network, as well as on ESPN. Now, the league has already announced some games, and from that we know that the Vikings a) don't have one of the featured spots in Week 1 and b) won't be playing on Thanksgiving this year. . .but what about the rest of the schedule?
Well, thanks to the baseball-playing friends we share the Metrodome with, it appears that there's a very good chance that the Beloved Purple will be playing away from home in Weeks 1 and 2.
You see, the Twins' schedule shows them playing home games against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, 13 September. . .and against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, 20 September. Obviously, the Metrodome can't be used for a Vikings' game on either of those days, which puts the Vikings away from home for the season's first two weeks. . .the first time this has happened to the Vikings since 1997 when they opened up with road trips to Buffalo and Chicago.
The Vikings notched victories in both of those games, incidentally.
The only way that such a scenario could be avoided is if the Vikings were to host the Monday Night match-up in Week 2. There are two fairly intriguing matchups this season for the Vikings that could easily fill such a void.
New York Giants @ Minnesota: Yes, we play the Giants this year. Again. This is not a repeat from 2007. Or 2005. Or 2004. Or 2003. Or 2002. Or 2001. Or 2000. Or 1999.
You know, for a couple of teams that aren't in the same division, we sure do seem to play the Giants a lot, don't we?
But the Giants are one of the NFL's best team, and were the #1 seed in the NFC playoffs last season. And, hey, any team from New York is going to draw, and they're going to get games in prime time, as we saw last year with NBC's
NFC East Game of the Week.
Baltimore @ Minnesota: The NFC North plays the AFC North this year in inter-conference play, and that means a trip to the Metrodome for Joe Flacco and company. (The Vikings' other home inter-conference matchup is against Cincinnati, and they'll have road trips to Cleveland and Pittsburgh.) A Baltimore/Minnesota match-up would feature two of the NFL's top defenses, and would be quite the prime-time battle.
The Vikings' other home games in 2009, outside of the three standard divisional match-ups, will be against Cincinnati, Seattle, and San Francisco. I, personally, don't think any of those will hold quite the intrigue of Giants/Vikings or Ravens/Vikings, but the NFL might not see it the same way I do.
We'll have the entire 2009 schedule for the Vikings right here when it's released at 6 PM Central time. See you then, ladies and gentlemen!