By bringing in a new general manager/head coach tandem, signing veteran free agents, and making multiple trades to acquire additional talent, the Minnesota Vikings have made it clear that they want to contend in 2022. In order for that to happen, they need to get off to a quick start against quality opponents.
The Vikings get their schedule started with a home matchup against the Green Bay Packers, which is always going to be a tightly contested battle no matter the quality of the teams. This year, both teams have their eyes on playoff runs, and their two games could very well decide who wins the NFC North in 2022, adding that much more intensity to the regular season opener.
Additionally, Minnesota has a road game in Philadelphia after this game that is growing evermore challenging as each week goes by. Most recently, the Eagles made a trade to acquire CJ Gardner Johnson from the New Orleans Saints, putting the safety in a secondary that already includes Darius Slay and James Bradberry. If there is a defense that can truly challenge Minnesota’s wide receiver group, it is going to be that unit as Philly looks like a no-fly zone for opponents.
The context of these two games being at the beginning of the season is key as well. Since 2019, there have been 25 instances of NFL teams starting their seasons 0-2. All 25 of them missed the playoffs. It hasn’t necessarily always been that way (2018 had two playoff teams that started 0-2), but the overwhelming trend in recent years, and really throughout NFL history, is that teams that get off to 0-2 starts have a difficult time making the playoffs.
Certainly, this could change in 2022, especially in a wide-open NFC conference. However, getting off to a fast start should be of extreme urgency for the Vikings. Starting 0-2 suddenly makes a London game against the New Orleans Saints a must-win. Additionally, it puts much more pressure on already high-pressure games in Buffalo and Green Bay as well as a home matchup against Bill Belichick’s Patriots. If this Vikings team is different than the teams of the past two seasons, we should be able to see it almost immediately.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh can often be found training for a marathon, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken