We’re halfway through the season, and the Minnesota Vikings are standing tall with a 6-2 record. If the regular season were to end today, the Vikings would have a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs as the #2 seed, but as we learned last year, it doesn’t matter how you start if you finish really, really badly.
We know that in the second half of the season, the powers that be in the National Football League can replace the matchups that are currently scheduled for Sunday Night Football with games that have more intrigue. With that fancy 6-2 record, could the Vikings be attractive candidates to be “flexed” going forward?
Let’s take a look at the Vikings’ games for the second half of the 2017 season and see how they potentially compare with the current Sunday Night Football matchup.
Week 10 - Vikings (6-2) at Washington Redskins (3-4)
Current SNF matchup: New England Patriots (6-2) at Denver Broncos (3-3, playing tonight)
Other potential flex candidates: New Orleans Saints (5-2) at Buffalo Bills (5-2)
Washington may have played themselves out of the playoff chase halfway through the year. They’ve already got three divisional losses, and they’ve got a tough trip to Seattle coming this Sunday. Not that the current matchup is particularly good, particularly if Denver continues to get zero quarterback play. However, you’d think that the Saints/Bills game would be a more attractive flex play if the league wanted to change the matchup.
Week 11 - Los Angeles Rams (5-2) at Vikings (6-2)
Current SNF matchup: Philadelphia Eagles (7-1) at Dallas Cowboys (4-3)
Other potential flex candidates: None that really stand out
This could, potentially, be the Vikings’ best chance of having a game shifted. The Rams have been one of the league’s surprise teams this year, and with the Los Angeles market in play. . .even if fans don’t seem to be showing up to the stadium. . .this could be a potential big one for the Vikings. It could even feature the return of Teddy Bridgewater, which the suits would probably love.
On the other hand, those same suits would probably prefer amputating their big toes to giving up an all-NFC East matchup, and the Eagles and Cowboys have both been very good this season. So, I’d be surprised to see the league change it.
Week 12 - Vikings (6-2) at Detroit Lions (3-4)
Game’s on Thanksgiving, so the league couldn’t move it if they wanted to. Next!
Week 13 - Vikings (6-2) at Atlanta Falcons (4-3)
Current SNF matchup: Philadelphia Eagles (7-1) at Seattle Seahawks (5-2)
Other potential flex candidates: Carolina Panthers (5-3) at New Orleans Saints (5-2), New England Patriots (6-2) at Buffalo Bills (5-2)
If the Falcons were playing at the same level they were last season, this could potentially be a candidate. But, they’re not. . .they’re 4-3, but have had several close shaves and could just as easily be 2-5 without a couple of bounces. In addition, the league already has a pretty premium matchup in the Sunday Night Football spot, so it wouldn’t appear this one is moving, either.
Week 14 - Vikings (6-2) at Carolina Panthers (5-3)
Current SNF matchup: Baltimore Ravens (4-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)
Other potential flex candidates: Seattle Seahawks (5-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3), Philadelphia Eagles (7-1) at Los Angeles Rams (5-2)
Ravens vs Steelers is one of the NFL’s better rivalries as things stand right now, but the further we get down this list, the more potentially different things could look. In any event, I’d be surprised to see NBC let this one get changed. . .although it would be kind of interesting to see Jacksonville get moved into this spot if the Vikings aren’t going to, provided they can maintain where they are right now.
Week 15 - Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) at Vikings (6-2)
Current SNF matchup: Dallas Cowboys (4-3) at Oakland Raiders (3-5)
Other potential flex candidates: Los Angeles Rams (5-2) at Seattle Seahawks (5-2)
While the “Mike Zimmer Bowl” might have some intrigue to us and to fans of the Bengals, I think that would be just about as far as it goes. The current SNF matchup doesn’t look all that intriguing as it stands right now, but there aren’t a lot of intriguing candidates, either. There’s a game between the Steelers and the Patriots in Week 15, but the word went out over social media a week or so ago that CBS protected that game from being flexed. (I haven’t seen the full list of protected games anywhere, but that one was specifically mentioned by several people.)
Week 16 - Vikings (6-2) at Green Bay Packers (4-3)
This is one of two games that takes place on Christmas Eve Eve, and it’s already going to be featured on NBC. So, nothing to see here.
Week 17 - Chicago Bears (3-5) at Vikings (6-2)
Current SNF matchup: None (is not determined until after Week 16 is complete)
I’d have a hard time seeing this one getting the nod to be put into a prime time slot, unless the Bears were to go on an unlikely run and this game wound up being for a division title. Don’t get me wrong, stranger things have happened, but I don’t think that even Mike Zimmer’s crystal ball would let me see that coming.
So, based on a combination of the Vikings’ opponents and the games that are already sitting in the Sunday Night Football slot, I’d have a hard time seeing the Vikings getting any of their games moved. Frankly, that’s just fine by me. With all due respect to Carrie Underwood (and Faith Hill before her), I really don’t care to wait all day for Sunday night anyhow.
Do you think any of Minnesota’s games get flexed to Sunday Night Football? Do you want them getting flexed?