The NFL kept the Minnesota Vikings and a few other teams in limbo for months about Week 15 scheduling but made a decision Monday.
The Vikings will play the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday at noon (December 17th). Before the announcement, Minnesota could’ve either hosted the Colts on Saturday or Sunday.
But Saturday, it is — a bittersweet development. Primetime games are preferred by most fans for the atmosphere, but the Vikings are a markedly better “noon team” than most.
Through 13 weeks, the Colts have a 4-8-1 record, a severely disappointing season for a team that was a fashionable pick back in August to win the AFC South. Led by Matt Ryan, the Colts were believed to have everything they needed to win at least 9 or 10 games but no cigar. So, as the NFL dropped Indianapolis into the Saturday slot, the underwhelming record wasn’t quite what the doctor ordered from primetime.
In the last five seasons, the Vikings are the league’s sixth-best franchise in the early afternoon time window. Minnesota has won 67% of all “noon games” since 2018 when quarterback Kirk Cousins joined the team. During primetime, which would’ve been the timing for Vikings-Colts if Indianapolis didn’t have a poor record, Minnesota has won 41% of the time since 2018 — ranking 22nd in the NFL.
The Colts fired head coach Frank Reich a few weeks ago after the naughty start to the season. Unproven head coach Jeff Saturday took over, the Colts won their first game with Saturday in the saddle, and then devolved back into futility. The Dallas Cowboys wiped the Colts on Sunday Night Football in Week 13 by a score of 54-19, the most lopsided home victory of 2022 to date.
The Vikings are 24-19 (.558) in the Super Bowl era via Saturday football games, the 10th-best win percentage leaguewide since 1966.
This is the full docket for Saturday, December 17th:
- Noon CST = Colts at Vikings
- 3:30 pm CST = Ravens at Browns
- 7:15 pm CST = Dolphins at Bills
Minnesota hasn’t beaten Indianapolis since 1997, losing six consecutive times to the AFC foe.
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 Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).