Jan 4, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) watches from the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter during the 2013 NFC wild card playoff football game at Lincoln Financial Field. The Saints won 26-24. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Nothing breeds excitement and optimism like the schedule release. But let’s not let ourselves be blinded. The fact is this: some of the games we’re now looking forward to with so much child-like anticipation…they are going to suck.
They are going to suck hard.
Sure, some of them will be great too. There are always gems. Unexpected gems. Games you thought would suck that turn out to be great.
But those will be balanced off by the games you think will be great that turn out to suck.
In actual fact, it’s impossible to guess which games will suck and which ones will be good. It’s impossible, even using the most sophisticated super computers from movies written by people who don’t understand computers, to create an algorithm that even gets you close to anticipating all the variables that go into those glorious accidents of matchup and trend and physical factor that we occasionally see blossom into truly classic gridiron events.
It’s just way too complicated and random and freaky.
But I’m going to take a stab at it anyway, because I think someone has to.
A point of clarification first: This is not a prediction of the Vikings’ record for the coming season or a break down of their playoff prospects. These games are being ranked purely on non-entertainment potential. These matchups are being broken down purely by how much I think each one has the potential to make me we wish I could tear my brain out of my skull and stomp on it.
No attempt to guess a winner is necessarily being made.
16. November 23, Packers at Vikings
This is the most suck-proof game on the schedule. I don’t see any possible way that a Packers-Vikings game in December in Minnesota OUTSIDE can be anything but awesome. Sure, the Packers might be way better than the Vikings this year, and we’ve certainly seen some sucky blow-outs happen between the two teams in recent years, but throw all that out the window. Throw the records out the window. Throw history out the window. It’s Packers-Vikings in Minnesota. It will be an entertaining game filled with wackiness.
15. October 12, Lions at Vikings
When the Lions visit the Vikings, there is one thing you can count on: the Lions will play well enough to win overall but will shoot themselves in the foot just enough times to guarantee a loss. There are few things in this world more satisfying than watching a talent laden team like the Lions commit the same old familiar gaffes and once again lose a game they don’t have any business losing.
14. November 2, Redskins at Vikings
The Vikings pretty much always beat the Redskins (sometimes hurting their draft position in the process). The Redskins have a lot of hateable d-bag players like DeAngelo Hall and RGIII who make you want to watch them get their faces rubbed in it, so that makes it extra fun when they fail. Also, do you think there is any way Mike Zimmer is losing to Jay Gruden? No way. Zimmer will own him. I can’t wait for the post-game handshake that turns into Zimmer poking his finger in Gruden’s face and cursing him out.
13. December 7, Jets at Vikings
This one is tricky because now you’re getting late into the season when teams are starting to realize they’re out of the race and the motivation level possibly drops. That is a recipe for sucky games. But this one, I just have a feeling, will be entertaining. The trash talking between Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson during the week should be fun at any rate. Also, it will be great watching Mike Zimmer’s blitz packages totally mess up Michael Vick‘s head. That guy can’t see a blitz coming to save his life.
12. September 7, Vikings at Rams
The season opener is always relatively suck-proof. I don’t mean that the game itself is guaranteed not to suck, because lots of openers do end up sucking. I just mean that, even if the game does suck, it’s the opener so you’re excited anyway. The game can still suck but it doesn’t matter that it sucks. We will be too caught up in the joy of the season’s return, and the intrigue of all the storylines, to even notice if suck is happening.
11. November 30, Panthers at Vikings
We’re getting into the territory where suck potential becomes a real thing. I want to believe this game will be fun, because Cam Newton and Riverboat Ron Rivera have a way of bringing a certain entertainment value to the table, but there are other factors. The Vikings might be falling out of it at this point and that could lead to a big home let-down. I have reasonable hope that this will be a fun game but suck factor is in play.
10. September 28, Falcons at Vikings
Something about Falcons at Vikings just makes me nervous, I don’t know why. What could it be?
Oh, and the Falcons will probably be better this year, and this could be a really huge home flop for the Vikings early in the season. Or, the Falcons could still be bad this year and this turns out to be a boring late September out-of-division game between two teams that will ultimately not matter. Also, it’s the only late afternoon start for the Vikes and those make me cranky.
9. December 14, Vikings at Lions
Vikings at Lions is always a bit of a toss-up when it comes to potential suck factor. There is always the chance of the Vikings getting a nice road upset, but there is an equal chance of the two teams pummeling away at each other in boring intra-divisional fashion until the Lions squeak one out at the end with a yawn-worthy field goal. On the fence on this one.
8. October 26, Vikings at Buccaneers
People will have this game circled because it’s the Vikings going up against Leslie Frazier‘s defense and they really want to see Matt Cassel and Adrian Peterson tear up Leslie’s defense. That anticipation level actually ramps up the potential suck level. If the Vikings defense flops against Frazier, it just makes it more painful. Thing is, if the Buccaneers have a good D this year, it likely won’t be because of Frazier as much as their talent, which is pretty solid. But Viking fans will still read it as “Leslie Frazier owned us.”
7. October 19, Vikings at Bills
I’m not afraid of the Bills. Even this far out from the game, I have no problem saying I’m confident the Vikings can walk into Buffalo and pull off a road upset. But I am even more confident that Vikings vs. Bills in mid-October will be just as soul-suckingly tedious a game as ever was imagined. Just thinking about the Bills makes my brain want to commit suicide. This game is only entertaining if the Vikings totally smoke them by like four touchdowns.
6. December 21, Vikings at Dolphins
The media love this game because it’s a trip to Miami in December. Reality for the rest of us? The Vikings and Dolphins will both probably be out of it at this point. The players will be treating their Miami trip like a vacation. There will be a big potential mental check-out factor in this one. This one could quickly turn into a mind-numbing, mistake-ridden, no-pace-having drudgery of a contest.
5. December 28, Bears at Vikings
Sorry but Jared Allen returning to face the Vikings doesn’t do it for me as a storyline. Why? Because it’s not in the Metrodome. In my mind, Jared Allen is associated with the Metrodome, the noisy crowd, him waving his hands to ramp up the noise level even higher. I think of Jared Allen and the first thing that pops into my head is the 2008 playoff game against the Eagles AT THE METRODOME. It’s TCF so it’s not the same. Also, last game of the season, both teams potentially out of it. There’s nothing worse than a going-through-the-motions preseason-like finale. This game likely will be that.
4. September 14, Patriots at Vikings
This one is self-explanatory. Nothing good happens when the Vikings play the Patriots. I hope that Mike Zimmer will be able to whip something up that turns the tables in this lop-sided non-rivalry, but I’m not going to get my hopes up. The pessimist in me looks at this game and just thinks “38-6.”
3. November 16, Vikings at Bears
The Vikings haven’t won a game in Chicago since before it was called The Windy City (I think that’s accurate, but I’ll have to look it up). Getting crushed by the Bears in Chicago feels as inevitable as getting crushed by the Patriots, but it’s extra-sucky because it means Jay Cutler gets to feel good and that’s just not a fun thing. Jay Cutler should always have to feel bad. It should be a law. Plus, Jared Allen will probably get about four sacks in this game and it won’t be fun being on the other end of the calf-rope. At all.
2. October 2, Vikings at Packers
This one is sneaky. The first thing you think is, Vikings have given the Packers some darn good games in Green Bay the last couple years, if you throw out the playoff game. And that game in Lambeau last year, even though it ended up as a lame tie, was just as crazy and entertaining a game as you would ever want to see. Of course Aaron Rodgers didn’t play in that game and…DINGDINGDING. There’s half the problem. Aaron Rodgers almost certainly will play in this game, and it’s at home so, figure it out. But here’s the other sneaky part of it: Thursday night game. What do almost all Thursday night games do? That’s right. Suck. Some extraordinary circumstances will have to come together for this game not to blow.
1. September 21, Vikings at Saints
Revenge on the Saints! Revenge on the Saints!
Yeah, or Drew Brees duplicating the numbers he put up against the Vikings three years ago. As much as I want to put my faith in Mike Zimmer, I’m looking at the Vikings secondary and I’m not convinced it’s that much better than the last couple years. Even if it does improve, it will take some time to come together. This game is happening early in the season right when a good offense like the Saints’ will start to click. It’s in New Orleans. The Vikings will still be searching for their defensive identity. Sorry, but this one has massacre written all over it. I know Zimmer is a genius but…I’m sorry, it’s the pessimist voice again, but I fully expect this to be some kind of ridiculous blow-out. I anticipate pain and misery.
Eff you, Drew Brees.