Part of being a contender means greater national interest. The Minnesota Vikings are seeing that play out with tonight’s game between the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins on “Monday Night Football” putting the Vikings on notice of a possible schedule change for Week 16.
If the Giants beat the Dolphins on Monday night, Dec. 14, then the Vikings’ game with the Giants on Dec. 27 at TCF Bank Stadium will be moved to Sunday night for the 7:30 p.m. Central kickoff on NBC Sunday Night Football. If the Giants lose tonight, the Vikings-Giants game stays an afternoon matchup on Dec. 27 and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens game will become the Sunday night game for Week 16.
The NFL uses “flexible scheduling” on Sundays in Weeks 11-17 to ensure “quality matchups in all NFL Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives teams a chance to play their way onto primetime and into the late-afternoon … time slot on CBS or FOX,” according to an NFL release.
For each flexible scheduling week with the exception of Week 17, the NFL announces the start times of games on Sundays no later than 12 days prior to that weekend. To ensure a Sunday night game and doubleheader games with playoff implications in Week 17, flexible scheduling decisions for that Sunday can be made on six days notice.
In other words, be prepared for the possibility of the Vikings-Packers game on Jan. 3 being under consideration for the Sunday night time slot. It is currently scheduled for a noon kickoff.