With the Minnesota Vikings’ 2023 schedule now released, fans naturally start to make arrangements to head to their pick of away games set for this season.
At first glance, for those that can pack up and travel for an always-unforgettable experience, this season looks to be a good one to make a vacation centered around the Purple and Gold.
I can speak from experience here too, I was lucky enough to watch the Vikes play in their most recent game at Arrowhead Stadium in 2019 against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Chiefs that year.
Even though the Vikings lost on a last-second field goal (go figure), witnessing the much-lauded Arrowhead atmosphere (and Tomahawk Chop) first-hand was one of the better sports experiences so far in my young life. Top-notch BBQ doesn't hurt either.
Unlike last year, where the Vikings had multiple cold-weather games, fans should be able to avoid bringing winter jackets along with them for the most part. Besides a week 15 game in Cincinnati, every road game after Thanksgiving will take place in a warm-weather city or closed-roof stadium.
Here are my picks for the top-5 road trips of the season:
#1 - Week 14 - At Vegas
Vegas, as a city, is simply one of the best overall experiences that sports fans can have. June-in-December weather, plenty of sunshine, proximity to sportsbooks, and the fact the city itself is a literal party 24/7, 365 helps make Vegas this year’s top destination game.
Factor in the newest stadium in the NFL (tied with the Los Angeles Rams’ So-Fi), and Allegiant Stadium offers one of the cleanest and most modern fan experiences in the game. There are also plenty of local establishments both on the Strip and near the stadium that will be surely hosting gatherings and parties for away teams’ fans before kickoff.
The most affordable airfare on the list never hurts either.
#2 Week 10 - At Denver
Living in the Mountain West myself, this is the game that I am trying my best to get to, as I am within driving distance. For those flying, Denver is also one of the largest and easiest-to-get-to airports in the country. Having been to Denver a few times myself, I can attest that this is a city that is pretty underrated as well, with plenty of great dining options (Mellow Mushroom Pizzeria is my rec) both in the ‘burbs and downtown.
Also, if the weather is cooperating, nothing beats the great off-day activity of making the short drive up to Rocky Mt. National Park and breathing in some fresh mountain air while enjoying the sights.
I’m taking the Vikes to win this game, and nothing washes the taste of victory down better than some Colorado Kool-Aid, which is brewed at the famed Coors’ Brewery not far away in Golden, Co.
#3 - Week 4 - At Carolina
For Minnesotans wanting to hold onto the heat of summer, not one trip this year can compare to the comfortable semi-costal climate of Charlotte, which will surely beat the cold weather about to descend on the Twin Cities around this time.
Charlotte as a city is not-too-big but not too small either, offering a more relaxed atmosphere than Vegas, Atlanta, or Philadelphia. Factor in the growing outdoors culture of the Carolinas (with plenty of Hiking and Mountian biking day trips to be had in the nearby Appalachians) and this would be an underrated away game to attend. Also: Carolina BBQ. Should be a good game too.
#4 Week 15 - At Cincinnati
For those looking to see how the Vikes fare in person against a top team in the NFL, this is your trip. Joe Burrow and company will surely hand the Vikings an appropriate end-of-season test.
Even if you’ll likely have to bring your coat, Cinci isn’t a far flight from MSP, and would be a nice quick trip to cap the season off with. If you're worried it might be too cold, I’m sure some skyline chili might do some convincing.
#5 Week 8 - At Green Bay
The fact of the matter is that Green Bay was never going to not make this list. With Aaron Rogers’ departure signifying a bit of a transition year for the cheeseheads, I would take the Vikes to win this one, especially in a relatively early-season matchup. If you ask me, there are few things sweeter than a victory in enemy territory.
This game also should not be unbearably cold either, taking place before November even begins. It is also, by far, the shortest trip of every season, and a drive could be done easily in a two-day, one-night trip.
The rest: #5 - Week 6 - At Chicago, #6 - Week 9 - At Atlanta, #18 - Week 18 - At Detroit, Last Place - Week #2 At Philadelphia (you can pat yourself on the back for this, Philly fans).