It won’t happen for another couple of seasons, but the Minnesota Vikings’ chances of playing yet another game in London increased again with an announcement on Friday.
The stadium that is being constructed in Southern California that is set to be shared by the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers is being delayed by a year, with the opening now scheduled for 2020 rather than 2019. (If you’d like to get the perspective of our brother sites on that, you can check out Turf Show Times and Bolts From The Blue.) According to Pro Football Talk, this means that both the Rams and the Chargers will have to host International Series games in 2019 as a result of playing in a temporary stadium.
(I guess the Vikings got out of that during the time that they were in TCF Bank Stadium because they hosted a London game the season before the move. That’s the only explanation I can think of.)
The Vikings already have a trip to play the Chargers on the schedule for 2019. . .they haven’t played in San Diego since the 2011 season opener. They could also find themselves with a road game against the Rams if they finish in the same place in the NFC North in 2018 as the Rams do in the NFC West.
I’m not sure if there’s a limit on how frequently a team can be selected to play in the International Series games. I know that the Jacksonville Jaguars have elected to play a game in London for several years running now, but that’s a special arrangement they’ve made with the league. The Vikings “hosted” the Pittsburgh Steelers in London in 2013, and are set to play as the road team against the Cleveland Browns in Week 8 of the upcoming season.
So, because of someone else’s bump in the road, the Vikings’ chances of potentially playing another game in London (or some other overseas location, if the NFL expands their horizons) in 2019 have gone up quite a bit. Obviously we’re not going to know for a couple years if it actually happens, but it’s something to potentially keep in the back of our minds.