3 ways the NFL screwed the Vikings with the 2024 schedule

Minnesota Vikings TE T.J. Hockenson
Minnesota Vikings TE T.J. Hockenson / David Berding/GettyImages

After months of anticipation, the Minnesota Vikings finally got their schedule for the 2024 season on Wednesday. To fans, this has become a football holiday as vacations are planned, family outings are moved, and attention shifts to the opening game of the season. But for the team, the schedule release has a different meaning.

The Vikings are looking to return to the playoffs in 2024 and the schedule will play a factor in whether or not that will happen. While the schedule has some benefits, there are also some areas where the Vikings got the short end and made things more difficult.

Here’s a look at three ways the Vikings got screwed by the schedule makers and how it could affect them in 2024.

3 ways the NFL screwed the Minnesota Vikings with the 2024 schedule

1. Vikings have a five-game gauntlet to open the season

Vikings fans may have rejoiced when they saw that they opened the season with Daniel Jones and the New York Giants, but the opening month of a season is a gauntlet that could put them into an early hole.

The Vikings will open the year with a trip to New York – which isn’t exactly a guaranteed victory playing in front of a Giants crowd full of optimism. The Vikings return home for their home opener the following week, but they’ll be greeted by the reigning NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers.

Minnesota will stay at home for a Week 3 matchup against the Houston Texans, who won the AFC South last year, and then head to Lambeau Field for a matchup with another playoff team in the Green Bay Packers. The Vikings get the New York Jets the following week, but that game will be played in London, meaning Minnesota will face Aaron Rodgers on a neutral field.

The five-game stretch to open the season isn’t ideal – especially with T.J. Hockenson’s status uncertain for Week 1. With Sam Darnold at quarterback, he’ll need to navigate through a gauntlet of playoff teams just to hang onto the job and even then, it could be time for J.J. McCarthy to take over.

2. Vikings bye week and mini-bye are incredibly close together

Former NFL defensive lineman J.J. Watt recently posted a list of things that players look for when the schedule is released, and while the first game stood at the top of the list, the bye week and the Thursday night game were the next two items on the list.

While the Vikings are guaranteed to have both, they were probably disappointed that they wound up right next to each other.

The Vikings will have their bye in Week 6 after taking on the Jets in London before coming home to face the Detroit Lions in Week 7. Four days later, the Vikings will go back on the road to face the Los Angeles Rams in a Thursday night game in Week 8.

The Thursday night game is a disadvantage as teams only have three days to prepare for their opponent. But there’s also a built in advantage with a “mini-bye” that give the Vikings 10 days to recover in advance of their next game. In this scenario, the Vikings will play two games in 28 days before playing consecutively in the final 10 weeks of the regular season.

This could be a problem as the Vikings head into the final stretch. Even they make the playoffs, the Vikings will be playing their 11th straight game in the Wild Card round (assuming they don’t get the No. 1 seed).

3. Vikings home games are bunched toward the end of the season

You can look at the end of the schedule in two ways but while having four home games in the final six weeks could be a benefit, it could also come too late to matter if the Vikings are making a playoff push.

One of the worst aspects of the opening week gauntlet is that three games are away from U.S. Bank Stadium. While Minnesota comes back to play two home games right after their bye, they go on the road for three straight before jumping into the final stretch of the regular season.

This is a rough draw for any team but especially one that could be looking to make the jump to a rookie quarterback at some point during the season. If the Vikings fall into too big of a hole, they could be playing for a draft pick in front of their home fans, leaving season ticket holders out in the cold.

More Vikings News and Analysis