As we all know, the Viking will be playing at the home of the Minnesota Gophers for the next two seasons while the new stadium is being built, and one of the things negotiated between the Vikings, the U of M, and TCF Bank Stadium is when the Vikes could host a Monday Night Football game.
Or, in this case...not host one.
Master and Commander Tesfatsion reports on the Strib blog that the Vikes and the University have agreed that Minnesota can only play host to:
one weeknight game each season when class is not in session. That game must be coordinated and approved by the school in its sole discretion.
With school in session when the season starts, and the semester not ending until December 16, that would only leave week 16 or 17 as possible Monday or Thursday night games that the Vikings could host. Although Adrian Peterson is a mega star, the team, as we're all to well aware, hasn't been very good for three of the last four years, and if I was ESPN or the NFL Network/CBS, I don't know that I'd want to book a week 16 or week 17 game in Minneapolis. The Monday and Thursday night games aren't games that can be flexed, so the only way we'll see the Vikings on Monday or Thursday night will be if they're on the road.
Speaking of flexed games, that does leave the door open for the possibility of the Vikings being flexed into the Sunday Night game, depending on how they're doing.A Sunday night game doesn't really affect the 'weeknight game' agreement, but I mention it becuase it's really the only possibility of seeing the Vikings at home in prime time for the next two seasons. Like ESPN and NFLN, I don't know that NBC would schedule the Vikings at home early in the season as their primetime game.
The Vikings have been flexed into the prime time slot once before, against Washington in 2007.
However, Tesfatsion also mentions that this shouldn't affect any potential Saturday games the NFL might want to schedule for the Vikings. The only restriction for Saturday games, which the NFL is bringing back late in the year after a one year hiatus, is that the Gophers not have a home game scheduled for that day. Since the Gophers regular season schedule ends in November, that shouldn't be any problem.
I always enjoy watching the Vikings at home on Monday night, but if I have to give it up for two years because of the stadium, I really don't mind. And I'm not a big fan of Thursday night games anyway, so I'm not too upset.
But I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Vikings get two or three home prime time games the first year in their new stadium, to kind of make up for this two year inconvenience.