For fans of the Minnesota Vikings, hearing the words "prime time" over the past couple of seasons has been a reason to curl up into the fetal position and weep a little bit. However, now that they stand at 7-2 and are firmly a part of the playoff picture in the NFC, it stands to reason that they might find themselves in a position to be "flexed" into a Sunday Night Football game.
However, given the current Sunday Night Football schedule and the Vikings' opponents over those weeks, how good a chance to they have? Probably not a great one.
Here's the Sunday night schedule for the rest of the season, along with who the Vikings play in that particular week.
|Week||Current SNF Game||Vikings' Opponent|
|12||New England Patriots (9-0) at Denver Broncos (7-2)||at Atlanta Falcons (6-3)|
|13||Indianapolis Colts (4-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)||vs Seattle Seahawks (4-5)|
|14||Seattle Seahawks (4-5) at Baltimore Ravens (2-7)||at Arizona Cardinals (7-2, Thursday night)|
|15||Cincinnati Bengals (8-1) at San Francisco 49ers (3-6)||vs Chicago Bears (4-5)|
|16||Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) at Baltimore Ravens (2-7)||vs New York Giants (5-5)|
|17||Sunday Night Game TBD||at Green Bay Packers (6-3)|
To start with, the Vikings can't be flexed in Week 14, as they're playing the Thursday night game that week. With that out of the way, let's go down the list.
(There are certain games that CBS and FOX can protect from getting flexed to Sunday night. I'm trying to find a list of which games those are. There may be a couple on the list of other flex candidates for each week.)
Week 12 - Even though Vikings/Falcons is a potential playoff preview (and would be a first-round match-up if the season ended today), there's no way NBC is letting go of Patriots/Broncos, even if Denver's starting quarterback is (apparently) going to be MY CLIENT. . .BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRROCK. . .OSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSWEILER!
-Other potential Week 12 flex candidates: Well, after looking at the schedule, there really aren't any. Probably a good thing.
Week 13 - The Colts are likely going to be sans Andrew Luck in this one, but at 4-5 they're still in the thick of the AFC South race. The Seahawks still have name recognition going for them, but their record says they're not necessarily prime time material, either.
Week 15 - If the Bears continue the mini-resurgence they've had over the past couple of weeks and the Niners keep drifting towards train wreck territory, this could happen. I wouldn't bet on it or anything, though.
Week 16 - If the Giants can take a hold of the NFC East at some point, this could garner some interest. But, like Week 15, there are plenty of other solid candidates for this one, too.
-Other potential Week 16 flex candidates: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots at New York Jets, Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals
Week 17 - The NFL doesn't determine the Sunday Night game for Week 17 until after the Week 16 results are in the books. All of the match-ups in Week 17 are divisional games, and you can bet that if the Vikings/Packers rematch has anything riding on it, it will be a very tempting one for the NBC folks to grab.
Unless that Week 17 match-up winds up on NBC, I'd be very surprised if the Vikings wound up getting flexed into prime time this season. What do you folks think? Is there something I'm missing somewhere?