Vikings will be road warriors early

Because of the Twins still playing in the Metrodome, the Vikings' early schedule has them on the road to start the season. Things could have been worse in the scheduling and the team appears to have caught a couple of breaks.


As expected, the scheduling problems with the Metrodome will cause the Vikings to potentially be road warriors early in the season. The 2009 schedule was released Tuesday and, thanks to the Metrodome being in use three of the first four Sundays of the regular season, other arrangements needed to be made.

The Vikings will play their first two games on the road, traveling to Cleveland and Detroit. The next two games are home, but because of a Metrodome conflict, the Vikings will play their Week 4 game against the Packers on Monday night.

After that, it's on the road again, playing three of their next four games prior to the bye week on the road. The road will be more difficult on the October run with games in St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Green Bay.

"It's an exciting day when the staff and players can see the whole schedule laid out in front of them for the season," head coach Brad Childress said in a statement.

The bye week couldn't come at a better time for the Vikings, since they caught a bye week exactly at the midway point of the season – a time sought by most teams since it will give them a chance to heal at midseason and come back strong for a second half run.

That second-half run will feature an NFL rarity – three straight home games. From the time the Vikings play the Packers Nov. 1, until they go back on the road to play Arizona Dec. 6 (a good time to visit Arizona, Childress said), the team will have more than a month without a road game. Aside from the bye week, the Vikings will play three straight home games against Detroit, Seattle and Chicago.

The toughest stretch of the schedule will clearly be in December. Through their first 11 games, the Vikings will play two teams that made the playoffs in 2008 (Baltimore and Pittsburgh). That changes in December, as the Vikings will close the schedule playing the other three NFC division champions – Arizona in Week 13, Carolina in Week 15 and the Giants in Week 17.

"Just like we did last year," Childress said of closing with the Giants during an NFL Network segment. "That's about four years from now."

The schedule could have been much worse, considering the lack of availability in the Metrodome in September and early October. But, at first glance, there shouldn't be too much complaining.


  • Things could have been much worse early on, as the Vikings still face the potential of being without Pat Williams and Kevin Williams for the first four games of the season. The team potentially could have faced teams like Steelers, Ravens, Giants, Panthers, Bears or Cardinals in that stretch. Instead, the get the Browns, Lions, 49ers and Packers – all teams that had losing records in 2008. They would appear to have caught a major break there in the event the Williams Wall is shut down for the first month of the season.

  • The Vikings have three prime-time games that potentially could be reduced to two if things don't work out. Their three prime-time games are a Monday night game Week 4 against the Packers, at Carolina on Sunday night in Week 15 and at Chicago for a Monday night game in Week 16. But the last month of the season is subject to flex scheduling, which could move the Vikings out of the Sunday night game if, for some reason, their matchup with the Panthers doesn't look as attractive in December as it appears now.

  • If regularity is your goal, the Vikings may have it as much as any team. Of their 16 games, 12 of them will get underway at noon local time of Sundays, including 10 of their first 11 games. Aside from the three prime-time games, the only game that won't be played at noon on a Sunday local time is when the Vikings travel to Arizona and play the Cardinals at 3:15 p.m.

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