Extremely early Vikings game-by-game 2024 record prediction - Version 1.0

Minnesota Vikings players
Minnesota Vikings players / David Berding/GettyImages

Who the Minnesota Vikings are going to face during the 2024 season has already been known for the last few months. But on Wednesday, we found out when the team will be facing each of their opponents next season, thanks to the release of the 2024 Vikings schedule.

How Minnesota's schedule is structured might seem silly to some, but in a game like football, where every advantage matters, one extra day of rest for a team could make the difference between a win and a loss in the NFL.

The league certainly didn't do the Vikings any favors with the way they set up the team's schedule for the 2024 season. Thankfully, Minnesota's main goal for the 2024 campaign likely isn't going to center around how successful the team is in the standings.

2024 Minnesota Vikings Schedule: Game-by-game predictions if Sam Darnold is the Week 1 starter

With the Vikings still unsure about whether Sam Darnold or rookie J.J. McCarthy will open up the 2024 regular season as the team's starting quarterback, it only seems right to come up with two versions of this year's early game-by-game predictions.

So, for this version, Minnesota will step onto the field in Week 1 of the upcoming season with Darnold as their starting signal-caller. In this scenario, the veteran Vikings quarterback would also likely remain in the starting lineup for at least the first handful of games of the team's schedule, and McCarthy would watch from the sidelines.

With that being said, let's get into the predictions.

Week 1 - Sunday, September 8th

at New York Giants

While games outside of U.S. Bank Stadium tend to be more difficult for Minnesota to win, one would like to imagine that the Brian Flores version of the Vikings' defense will perform much better against Giants quarterback Daniel Jones than what the unit did in the 2022 playoffs when Ed Donatell was Minnesota's defensive coordinator.

Prediction: Vikings win (1-0)

Week 2 - Sunday, September 15th

San Francisco 49ers

Defeating the 49ers in a Monday night matchup without Justin Jefferson was arguably the Vikings' most impressive win last season. Unfortunately, San Francisco will have revenge on their minds, and they'll spoil Minnesota's 2024 regular-season home opener.

Prediction: Vikings lose (1-1)

Week 3 - Sunday, September 22nd

Houston Texans

This Week 3 matchup will not only feature the return of Danielle Hunter to Minnesota, but new Texans wide receiver Stefon Diggs will also get to play inside U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time since the 2019 season when he was a member of the Vikings. But unlike Week 2 against the 49ers, Minnesota finds a way to pull out a win in front of their home crowd in this game against a talented Houston team.

Prediction: Vikings win (2-1)

Week 4 - Sunday, September 29th

at Green Bay Packers

While Minnesota will be happy to not have to play outside in Green Bay during the middle of the winter, it's still going to be difficult for them to get a road victory over a Packers team that could be one of the top contenders in the NFC next season.

Prediction: Vikings lose (2-2)

Week 5 - Sunday, October 6th

New York Jets (in London, England, 8:30 a.m. CST start time)

Unfortunately, Vikings fans won't get to boo Aaron Rodgers next season as they did for so many years whenever he would come to town as Green Bay's starting quarterback. Instead, Minnesota loses the home-field advantage, which leads to Rodgers helping the Jets spoil the Vikings' trip across the pond this year.

Prediction: Vikings lose (2-3)

Week 6 - BYE

Week 7 - Sunday, October 20th

Detroit Lions

With Minnesota coming off of their bye week, this would seem like a possible opportunity for rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy to make his first start with the Vikings. However, Minnesota head coach Kevin O'Connell might not want McCarthy's first appearance in the starting lineup to come against the reigning NFC North champions. Luckily for the Vikings, they get a win in this game regardless of whoever is starting under center for them.

Prediction: Vikings win (3-3)

Week 8 - Thursday, October 24th

at Los Angeles Rams (7:15 p.m. CST start time)

This is the game O'Connell likely has a big red circle around, as he'll get to take on his former team for the first time since he helped them win the Super Bowl in 2021 as their offensive coordinator. On a short week, however, Rams head coach Sean McVay is able to outsmart his former offensive coordinator and hand Minnesota a loss.

Prediction: Vikings lose (3-4)

Week 9 - Sunday, November 3rd

Indianapolis Colts

It's difficult to determine how good the Colts will be next season, as much of their success will probably depend on the health of quarterback Anthony Richardson. Whether Richardson is on the field or not, the Vikings find a way to leave the field with a win in this matchup against Indianapolis.

Prediction: Vikings win (4-4)

Week 10 - Sunday, November 10th

at Jacksonville Jaguars

In the past, a trip to Jacksonville seemed like an easy win for Minnesota. That's not going to be the case for the Vikings this year, as they'll be taking on a Jaguars team that is going to be out to prove a lot of people wrong next season.

Prediction: Vikings lose (4-5)

Week 11 - Sunday, November 17th

at Tennessee Titans

With a new head coach in Brian Callahan leading the way, the Titans feel like they have the potential to be one of the NFL's most surprising teams in 2024. Tennessee has added a number of notable new faces to their roster during the last few months and these players will end up making the difference in this contest against Minnesota.

Prediction: Vikings lose (4-6)

Week 12 - Sunday, November 24th

at Chicago Bears

Chicago has never been an easy place to play for the Vikings during the last few years, and things aren't about to get any easier next season. The Bears are now led by rookie quarterback Caleb Williams, and if he's healthy for this Week 12 contest, Minnesota will likely be sent home with a loss.

Prediction: Vikings lose (4-7)

Week 13 - Sunday, December 1st

Arizona Cardinals

After three straight losses on the road, the Vikings are able to get things back on track against the Cardinals inside U.S. Bank Stadium. Arizona head coach Jonathan Gannon has his team heading in the right direction, but their efforts won't be enough to defeat Minnesota on the road in this matchup.

Prediction: Vikings win (5-7)

Week 14 - Sunday, December 8th

Atlanta Falcons

All eyes will be on Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins in this contest as he will return to the Twin Cities this year as an opponent after spending the last six seasons as a member of the Vikings. Unfortunately for Cousins, all of the eyes in Minnesota's defense will also be on him, and Brian Flores' aggressive scheme will ruin any hope that the veteran passer had of defeating his former team.

Prediction: Vikings win (6-7)

Week 15 - Monday, December 16th

Chicago Bears (7 p.m. CST start time)

After the Bears handed them a disappointing loss in Week 12, the Vikings get their revenge and earn their third victory in a row to put themselves back in the hunt for a playoff spot in the NFC.

Prediction: Vikings win (7-7)

Week 16 - Sunday, December 22nd

at Seattle Seahawks (3:05 p.m. CST start time)

Any hopes that Minnesota had of increasing their winning streak to four are quickly crushed by the tradition of losing whenever traveling to Seattle for a matchup during the last decade.

Prediction: Vikings lose (7-8)

Week 17 - Sunday, December 29th

Green Bay Packers

With their playoff lives on the line, the Vikings stay alive in the race for a spot in the postseason by defeating a Packers team that will likely end up winning the NFC North despite this loss in Minnesota.

Prediction: Vikings win (8-8)

Week 18 (TBD Date)

at Detroit Lions (TBD start time)

For the second season in a row, the Vikings close out their schedule with a difficult divisional battle in Detroit. With the Lions also in need of a win to keep their playoff chances alive, they end up getting the victory, which sends Minnesota home to begin planning for an eventful 2025 offseason.

Prediction: Vikings lose (8-9)

(Start times for each game are 12 p.m. CST unless otherwise indicated)

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