Cold games could be prevalent for Vikings

The Vikings have known their 2014 opponents for months, but the schedule of games is just as important as the listing of opponents in the Vikings' case. With two games in Florida, the timing matters.

The preseason schedule was released last week and it's just the beginning of the NFL's prolonged eventual unveiling of the full schedule.

It's actually a bit of overkill that they make such a production number out of the schedule because, unfortunately for the Vikings, we pretty much knew about the time wishbones were being broken late Thanksgiving Thursday who the Vikings would be playing in 2014.

All the Vikings can hope for in terms of not playing 15 games at noon Sunday – the area where teams of little acclaim claim as home – is that the novelty of outdoor football in Minnesota might get some traction. The schedule wizards may opt to acquiesce and give the Vikings something other than the obligatory Thursday night game for the palate-cleansing teams like Cleveland and Jacksonville.

In previous seasons, the Vikings were subject to a maximum of seven games outside a season. They played eight in the Metrodome and the Lions keep their stink under a roof. That's nine games. In some instances, the Vikings played as few as four games outside during an entire regular season.

This year? Thirteen games will be played in the elements – both good and bad.

The only indoor games the Vikings will play this season will come at Detroit, New Orleans and St. Louis. Aside from that, it's all outside all the time. Depending on how the schedule plays out, the Vikings could be in for some bitter conditions.

All those who travel with the Vikings can hope for is that they don't play Miami or Tampa Bay (or both) until late in the season. If they come off the schedule early – there won't be a lot of wiggle room for nice weather in the second half of the season.

For those rudely introduced to the term "Polar Vortex" this past winter, any home game in November or December has potential teeth-chattering consequences. Depending on how the Vikings are punished by the league office in the NYC, they could spend a lot of time surrounded by heaters on the sidelines.

With a road schedule that includes Chicago, Green Bay and Buffalo, the layout of 2014 schedule could have as big of implications as to when games are played as where they're played. Green Bay and Chicago in September and October and Miami and Tampa Bay in November and December would be an ideal layout. The reverse could be a nightmare.

The Vikings won't be significantly represented in prime time on the 2014 schedule, but their fans will be interested in the unveiling of the schedule more for location than opponent.

After giving up a home game last year to play in London, the NFL owes the Vikings one. How about some Upper Midwest road games early and Florida late?

John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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