Thanks to everyone that came out for the discussion of the schedule when it was released yesterday. Obviously it's good to know when we're playing in various places and all that other good stuff. . .and, hey, it gives us something to talk about for a day or two before the draft comes around. I think that most of my thoughts on the schedule are going to be the same as everyone else's, but let's put them out there anyway.
Negative stuff first. . .and, like all of you out there, I absolutely hate the early bye week. When you have a veteran team like Minnesota, the most ideal time for a bye would be closer to the middle of the season, but instead Minnesota will be taking a break in Week Four. This means that the Vikings will play 13 weeks before they get any sort of potential rest time to end the season.
On the bright side, they'll have plenty of time to rest when they're watching the Wild Card playoff round in anticipation of who they'll host in the Divisional Playoffs. Because, you know, that's what teams that earn playoff byes get to do. And, really, there's no reason to think that the Vikings won't earn a bye to go along with their third consecutive NFC North title. Why would anybody think otherwise?
The other negative? Man, we'd better get our secondary problems shored up in a hurry. Our AFC opponents all come from the AFC East, which means we'll have our guys matching up against Randy Moss, Brandon Marshall, and Santonio Holmes (in his first game as a Jet after his suspension). Not to mention matchups against the Saints, the Cowboys, two games against the Packers, and the Cardinals (albeit without Kurt Warner behind center). Getting to the quarterback is going to be crucial in those games, and we know that the Vikings can do that, but the back seven is going to have to hold up their end of the bargain, too.
The biggest positive? Considering that this season we're playing the AFC East and the NFC East, the schedule is about as good weather-wise as a dome team like the Vikings can hope for. Just like last season, there's the potential for one real cold weather game, and that's the trip to Philadelphia the day after Christmas. Outside of that, we get to travel to Chicago, Green Bay, New York, and New England when weather shouldn't be a deciding factor. I suppose that the Washington game could be a little iffy, but hey. . .even two potential "weather" games out of 17 is a pretty good ratio. Not to mention that the back end of the schedule is pretty promising, with three straight home games for the Vikings and the season finale being held in the cozy confines of Ford Field in Detroit.
When it's all said and done, however, there's no reason for me to think that the Vikings will be any worse than an 11-5 team, and likely better than that. After all, if last year proved anything to everybody, it's that the only team in the NFL capable of stopping the Minnesota Vikings. . .is the Minnesota Vikings. With all 22 starters returning from last year's team, no team has a more solid foundation than we do. And if we get the standard Brad Childress/Rick Spielman outstanding draft. . .and we've had four of those in four years. . .and it looks to me like everything will be coming up purple in 2010.
What does everyone else think about the schedule?