Of the 14 games we already know, the home schedule is as follows: Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Philadelphia, Washington, San Diego and Oakland. The one remaining piece to the puzzle could be decided as early as tomorrow. If Atlanta beats Carolina, the Panthers will be assured of finishing third in the NFC South. If that happens, the Panthers will be the eighth home opponent for the Vikings. If Carolina wins, it could end up being the Falcons, but that would start getting into more elaborate tie-breakers. The easiest route is Carolina loses Sunday and they fill out the slate.
The first and most obvious thing that jumps out about the home schedule is that Vikings fans will get to see Randy Moss make his Metrodome return if he's still with Oakland next year. In addition, it will be an opportunity for the home fans to get a good look at LaDainian Tomlinson and Donovan McNabb – who will be playing their first games at the Metrodome.
The road schedule is a little fuzzier, but again seven games are already set. The Vikings will go on the road to play the Bears, Packers and Lions as well as Dallas, the Giants, Denver, Kansas City and the third-place finisher in the NFC West. Because of Seattle's free fall, that could be one of three teams – the Seahawks, Rams or 49ers. The Vikings can do their part to make sure it is the Rams by beating them in Week 17 at the Metrodome. Odds are if they do that, the chances are very good that St. Louis will be on the schedule again next year.
A quick glance at the road schedule shows some potential problems. Vikings fans know how hard it is to play in Chicago and Green Bay, but the Meadowlands hasn't been a picnic, Denver and Kansas City are always difficult places to win and a lot of dreams have died at Texas Stadium. Aside from the Lions, there may not be a gimme on the slate.
The Vikings dodged a bullet in the 2006 season by getting most of their toughest non-division opponents at home. Next year, they don't look to be as lucky. But a lot can change between Christmas and next September. Just ask Mike Tice or Daunte Culpepper.