The Minnesota Vikings have lost three consecutive games on Sunday Night Football, but some relief is in sight.
Unless NFL schedule makers flex the Vikings into the Sunday night slot late in the season, Minnesota will play in no Sunday night games in 2022. Each season since the start of 2018, the Vikings have played on Sunday Night Football — with varying degrees of success. But no such game will happen this season unless the team has a winning record and is swapped into the Sunday night timeslot.
In 2021, Minnesota played twice on Sunday nights. The first game was woeful as the Dallas Cowboys, led by QB2 Cooper Rush, knocked off Minnesota on Halloween night at U.S. Bank Stadium. After that, two months later, the Vikings got bashed on the road at Lambeau Field by the Green Bay Packers. Kirk Cousins contracted the coronavirus, and Sean Mannion couldn’t drag the team to victory.
The Vikings also lost a 2020 road game in Seattle on Sunday night, an excruciating loss as the team had a handful of chances to win.
But the Vikings aren’t without primetime or unique games in 2022. In Week 2, Kevin O’Connell’s team travels to Philadelphia for a Monday night bout with the Eagles, a team skippered by second-year head coach Nick Sirianni. The Vikings are early two-point underdogs against the Eagles. Two weeks later, Minnesota crosses the ocean for a date with the New Orleans Saints in London. The Saints will play the Vikings without Drew Brees or Sean Payton attached to the roster for the first time since 2005.
Then, on Thanksgiving night, the Vikings host the New England Patriots, a team that’s toppled Minnesota in every matchup during the last 20 years. Indeed, the Patriots — Tom Brady was the quarterback — have downed the Vikings five times in a row. This time, though, Brady won’t be under center, and the Vikings will introduce a new head coach — who used to play for the Patriots — at home in primetime.
On Christmas Eve day, the Giants venture to Minneapolis for a yuletide tryst with the Vikings.
Minnesota also has a built-in advantage for 2022 scheduling, playing nine home games in the league’s new 17-game format, seven true road games, and the neutral-site showdown in Great Britain. Overall, the Vikings have the NFL’s 13th-easiest schedule per opponents’ 2021 win percentage.
For Super Bowl odds, Minnesota’s +4000 moneyline makes the franchise the 20th most likely team to win the championship, a betting line similar to the aforementioned Saints and Patriots. And on wins and losses, the Vikings are expected to finish around 8-9 or 9-8, per oddsmakers.
The franchise hasn’t missed the postseason three seasons in a row since the 2005 to 2007 stretch.
The Vikings are 20-22 (.476) all-time on Sunday Night Football.
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).