The NFL 2022 schedule begins on September 8th as the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams host the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium. That’s the NFL’s best prediction for a Super Bowl matchup, so fans get a treat out of the gate.
The Minnesota Vikings have all new leadership after the franchise dumped its general manager and head coach in January. The team succumbed to a combined 15-18 (.454) record over the last two years, missing the postseason twice while professing “all-in” stakes.
Thankfully, for the new leadership regime, the 2022 schedule isn’t a monster. Here’s why.
9 Home. 7 Away. 1 Neutral.
Minnesota will host nine regular season games for the first time ever, travel to seven cities for road games, and battle overseas in a neutral-site contest against the Saints. Three other teams have this 9-home, 7-away, 1-neutral setup — the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, and Seattle Seahawks.
The Packers also play in London, but they are the home team.
If the Vikings can restore U.S. Bank Stadium to a fortress of dominance on display from 2016 to 2019, the team will be in good shape. Homefield advantage for the team dipped in 2020 and 2021, finishing 8-8 (.500) in Minneapolis in the last two years. Before that, from 2016 to 2019, the Vikings owned the NFL’s second-best home record behind Tom Brady’s New England Patriots.
Should Minnesota once again be feared on its own turf, hold serve on the road, and win in England, the playoffs may be afoot.
13th “Easiest” Strength of Schedule
Heading into the 2021 season, the Vikings stared down a daunting schedule. Per opponents’ win percentage the previous season, Minnesota’s strength of schedule last year was the fifth-most difficult in the NFL.
This year is different.
While nothing should be considered a cakewalk, the Vikings will face the league’s 13th-easiest schedule based on opponents’ 2021 win percentage. Minnesota’s opponents were 138-149-2 in 2021.
4 Games Against DET, CHI
Listen, the Detriot Lions are trending upward. They’ve built their trenches wisely and added offensive firepower — almost quietly — since Dan Campbell took over. Nevertheless, Detroit still employs Jared Goff, and he can only be feared to a degree.
The Bears, however, appear to be commencing a rebuild with a young quarterback who should already be experiencing the fruit of a rebuild — not the start of the process. Of course, the Bears habitually play the Vikings tough, so no game between the clubs is “easy.”
Yet compared to other division twosomes, the Lions and Bears are not frightful. If Minnesota is a promising football team in 2022, they should have a 4-0 or 3-1 record versus Detroit and Chicago by season’s end.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).