We’ve often said that the best time for an NFL kickoff is the 1:00 PM Eastern time slot that most games start at each week. . .or, for those of us that live (or grew up) in the correct time zone, a noon kickoff. Unfortunately, if you’re a big fan of the noon kickoff, you’re not going to be a big fan of the Minnesota Vikings’ schedule for the next four weeks.
Starting this coming Sunday, the Vikings will play late on Sunday or on Monday for four consecutive weeks. Their next scheduled noon Central time kickoff won’t be until 16 December, when the Vikings are scheduled to host the Miami Dolphins at U.S. Bank Stadium.
This is because the league decided last week that this Sunday’s contest against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field would be a better game to feature than the originally scheduled Pittsburgh Steelers/Jacksonville Jaguars contest. . .and they’re probably right. . .meaning that the Vikings’ schedule for the next four weeks looks like this:
- Week 11 - at Chicago Bears - Sunday Night Football, kickoff at 7:20 PM Central (NBC)
- Week 12 - vs Green Bay Packers - Sunday Night Football, kickoff at 7:20 PM Central (NBC)
- Week 13 - at New England Patriots - Late Sunday window, kickoff at 3:25 PM Central (FOX. . .as far as I know)
- Week 14 - at Seattle Seahawks - Monday Night Football, kickoff at 7:20 PM Central on Monday (ESPN)
Given the Vikings’ reputation for laying an egg in prime-time games in recent years, I can imagine that most Vikings’ fans are going to be relatively displeased with this arrangement. However, the run to a second straight NFC North division title (hopefully) begins next week, and this team is going to go out and win some football games, regardless of the kickoff time or where they’re being played.
Here’s hoping that Mike Zimmer’s team is up to the task. I think that, after a bye week that will allow them to get most of their key pieces healthy again, they will be.