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A look at the Vikings’ 2020 schedule: First quarter

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Some odds and ends about the Vikings’ schedule, four games at a time

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, folks! I’ve been a little sparse here lately. . .between finishing a final project for a class and having a house guest this week, it’s been a little hectic. But, both of those things are in the rear-view mirror, so it’s time to get back to. . .well, whatever there is to get back to given the current state of affairs.

So, the Vikings’ schedule came out this past week, as we know, and I wanted to find a few odds and ends to post about each of the games on the schedule. I’ll break this down one quarter of the season at a time, starting with the first four games of the year.

Week 1 - vs Green Bay Packers

As I’m sure you’ve seen since the schedule came out, this is not the first time that the Vikings and Packers have played to open the season, but it is the first time they’ve played to open a season in Minnesota. The two teams have met six times to start a season previously, with all of them taking place at Lambeau Field. In those six games, the two teams have split the series, 3-3.

Contrary to what we’ve seen in recent seasons, the Vikings and Packers will be finished with each other before the second half of the season starts in 2020. This one could very well set the tone for the season in the NFC North, so hopefully the Vikings can take advantage of this historic opportunity.

Week 2 - at Indianapolis Colts

When it comes to teams that the Vikings haven’t beaten in a while, the Colts are near the top of the list. The Vikings have not beaten the Colts since December of 1997, the year before Peyton Manning arrived in Indianapolis. That’s given them five straight losses to Indy, including a really embarrassing loss the last time these two teams got together in 2016 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The last time these two teams played in Indianapolis was, oddly enough, also a Week 2 matchup that happened back in 2012. The Vikings trailed 20-6 going into the fourth quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium, but Christian Ponder hit on two touchdown passes in the final quarter, including one to Kyle Rudolph that tied the game at 20-20 with 31 seconds left. However, rookie Andrew Luck needed just 19 seconds to get his team into field goal range, and Adam Vinatieri drilled one from 53 yards out to give Luck his first NFL win, 23-20.

Week 3 - vs Tennessee Titans

The Vikings have had much better luck against the Titans in recent years. Since the former Houston Oilers made the move to Tennessee, these two teams have played six times, with the Vikings winning five of those six matchups. The Vikings won the most recent matchup between these two teams when they opened the 2016 season in Nashville, getting two defensive touchdowns in the second half. . .one from Eric Kendricks and one from Danielle Hunter. . .to give themselves a 25-16 victory.

The last time these two teams played in Minnesota was a blowout in favor of the purple back in 2012. Percy Harvin had a pair of touchdowns that afternoon, one on the ground and one through the air, and the Titans didn’t get on the board until nearly halfway through the fourth quarter in a 30-7 Minnesota win.

Week 4 - at Houston Texans

With the short amount of time that the Texans have been around, it’s not surprising that there is a limited history between these two teams. They’ve met four times, and the Texans have yet to defeat the Vikings. Moreover, the margin of victory has gotten progressively larger for the Vikings over those games.

Of course, those games were all in the pre-Deshaun Watson era, so this will be the Vikings’ first time facing him. Then again, they will not be seeing DeAndre Hopkins, as the Texans traded the all-world receiver to the Arizona Cardinals this offseason for significantly less than what the Vikings received in their trade for Stefon Diggs. Bill O’Brien, ladies and gentlemen!

That’s a quick look at the first four games of the Vikings’ 2020 season. I’ll be back with the second quarter of the season in a day or two.