A few years ago, the league started giving themselves the ability to "flex" more interesting games into prime-time slots towards the end of the season. The flex scheduling took place exclusively in the second half of the season, but a new rule is going to change that.
According to NFL.com, starting the season the league can begin flex scheduling in Week 5. The league can flex two games total between Weeks 5 and 10, and after Week 11 the league can go back to flexing games every week.
I can only remember the Vikings getting flexed into a prime-time spot once, and that happened in 2007 against the Washington Redskins at home. . .a game that went pretty badly for our favorite football team. With all the restrictions that are currently on the Minnesota Vikings' schedule due to their agreement with the University of Minnesota to use TCF Bank Stadium, it remains to be seen whether or not it can happen for the team this year. They could get a road game flexed any time, but home games might be a little trickier.
The other part of this is that games can now be flexed between the two major NFL broadcast providers, FOX and CBS. According to NFL.com,
The "cross flex" mechanism will serve a similar purpose. Select games can be flexed between CBS and FOX. In the past, a game with two NFC teams had to be on FOX and a game with two AFC teams had to be on CBS. Now, the league can theoretically move an all-NFC game to CBS or an all-AFC game to FOX in select cases. This will help balance out the television schedule, especially in a week where one network has all the most intriguing games.
Generally, an inter-conference match-up will go to the network that the road team would normally play on. A game with an AFC team hosting an NFC team would be on FOX, while an NFC team hosting an AFC team would be on CBS. The Vikings had an exception to this a couple of years ago, when their game against the Denver Broncos at the Metrodome wound up on FOX during the height of Tebowmania.
So, this makes the NFL schedule even less set in stone than it had been in previous years. Speaking of the schedule, we'll have it here for you just after 7 PM Central time when the league announces it.