Based on this season, Vikings have fifth-easiest schedule in 2017

Far from an exact science, the NFL ranks the schedules for the following season based on the past results. In that event, the Vikings have the fifth-easiest schedule for 2017.

It’s never easy to say that the teams you will face during an NFL season are going to be as tough as they were the previous year, but at the end of every season the NFL does its part to rate and rank the schedules based upon difficulty of the records of their opponents from the previous year.

The NFL released its 2017 strength of schedule this week and the Minnesota Vikings are tied for the fifth easiest schedule in the league.

Here is the complete list (the number of opponents with nine wins or more are listed in parentheses):

1. Indianapolis .424 (7)
2T. Jacksonville .439 (6)
2T. Houston .439 (6)
4. Cincinnati .449 (7)
5T. Minnesota .453 (7)
5T. Pittsburgh .453 (6)
7. Tennessee .455 (6)
8. Baltimore .461 (8)
9T. Cleveland .469 (6)
9T. Detroit .469 (6)
11. Carolina .477 (8)
12. Chicago .479 (7)
13. Green Bay .480 (7)
14T. New Orleans .482 (8)
14T. Seattle .482 (6)
16. Tampa Bay .490 (7)
17T. Arizona .494 (8)
17T. Atlanta .494 (8)
19. San Francisco .502 (6)
20. Los Angeles .510 (6)
21. New England .527 (9)
22T. Dallas .531 (8)
22T. Philadelphia .531 (8)
24T. New York Giants .535 (8)
24T. New York Jets .535 (9)
26. Washington .543 (8)
27. Miami .547 (8)
28. Buffalo .561 (9)
29. Kansas City .564 (9)
30. San Diego .568 (10)
31. Oakland .576 (10)
32. Denver .578 (8)

The Vikings have what is deemed the easiest schedule in the division, but the other division rivals aren’t far behind – Detroit is tied for ninth, Chicago is 12th and Green Bay is 13th. It isn’t unusual to see teams from the same division closely clumped together because of the common opponents they share.

As would be expected, the teams from the AFC South are clustered at or near the top – the top three easiest schedules and Tennessee at seventh, because six of their games come against the teams from their own division and they landed the NFC West next year, which had just one team with a winning record.

On the flip side, the four toughest schedules belong to the teams from the AFC South, where not only do they play the teams in their own division, which had a combined record of 38-26, they also draw the NFC East, where three of the four teams had winning records in 2016.

If Vikings fans need reason to believe that 2017 will be a return to playoff glory, having what lays out as the easiest schedule in the division is a plus. But, it should be noted that the Vikings had the division’s toughest schedule in 2016 and the difference was drawing conference opponents Carolina and Arizona – teams that combined to go 28-4 in 2015, but had a record of 13-18-1 in 2016.

It goes to show you that, while there is promise, teams change so much from one year to the next that past performance isn’t always indicative of future results.

Viking Update Top Stories