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Vikings schedule 2021: Dates & times for all 17 games, strength of schedule, final record prediction


The Vikings enter Mike Zimmer’s eighth season as head coach after a disappointing 7-9 season in 2020. 

Minnesota has made the postseason in every other year under Zimmer, and that trend would suggest the team is due to get back in 2021. There are still questions about the future under quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has two years remaining on a monster contract. The Vikings might be picked to win the NFC North if Aaron Rodgers leaves Green Bay, but that is not a guarantee. 

MORE: Strength of schedule for all 32 teams in 2021

The schedule will be tough in 2021. The Vikings face the NFC West and AFC North as a part of a third-place schedule that will test whether that 7-9 season was the exception to the rule under Zimmer. 

Here is a complete breakdown of the Vikings’ 2021 schedule, including dates and start times for all 17 games and our early prediction.

Minnesota Vikings schedule 2021

The Vikings’ schedule will be released as part of the NFL’s schedule release on Wednesday, May 12 at 8 p.m. ET. These are the teams that they are currently scheduled to play during the 2021 NFL season.

  • Home: Bears, Lions, Packers, Steelers, Browns, Rams, Seahawks, Cowboys 
  • Road: Bears, Lions, Packers, Bengals, Ravens, 49ers, Cardinals, Panthers, Chargers 

The Vikings have seven games against teams that made the postseason in 2020, and five of those games are at U.S. Bank Stadium. 

That is huge for a team that has established a decided home-field advantage under Zimmer. Minnesota is 38-20 at home under Zimmer, the sixth-best home record in the NFL in that stretch behind New England, Green Bay, Kansas City, Seattle and Pittsburgh. 

The NFC North figures to be tight, and having the Cowboys and Panthers on the schedule should help Minnesota keep pace in that race. The extra game on the road against the Chargers has the feel of a trap game. 

Vikings strength of schedule 

Minnesota’s opponents had a .531 winning percentage last season, and that means the Vikings have the fifth most difficult schedule by record. The Bears and Packers rank third and fourth, respectively, in toughest schedules based on their playoff berths last year. 

Seattle and Dallas are on the schedule for the second straight season, and the Vikings lost to both teams in 2020. That might have been the difference in a potential playoff run in the NFC. 

Toughest tests: We mentioned that home schedule, and it’s tough inside and outside the division. The Packers, Bears and Lions were a combined 15-10 on the road last season. The rest of their opponents were 23-21 on the road, but the Cowboys were the only team that had a record below .500. One of Dallas’ road wins was at Minnesota. 

Seattle is 5-0 against the Vikings since Zimmer took over, and that could be a problem if the division race comes down to one game. 

Biggest breaks: Zimmer knows the AFC North well from his time as the Bengals’ defensive coordinator, and the Vikings went 3-1 against that division en route to a 13-3 season in 2017. The only loss was to the Steelers. Getting Pittsburgh and Cleveland at home is a schedule win for the Vikings. 

The NFC road schedule is manageable despite a tough test at San Francisco. The 49ers won just one home game last season, but that was part of an injury-plagued season. Minnesota should be able to at least get a split out of the Cardinals and Panthers matchups on the road. That should provide a lift in the NFC North race. 

Bottom line: Cousins will lead the Vikings through a fourth tour of the NFC North, and that is where we will find out whether this team is ready to get back to the postseason. 

Detroit has not been an issue. The Vikings are 6-0 against the Lions under Cousins, and Detroit has a new coach-quarterback combo with Dan Campell and Jared Goff. 

The Bears have been a problem. Chicago is 5-1 against Minnesota since Cousins took over as the starter, and the Bears might have an upgrade at quarterback with Justin Fields. Of course, Andy Dalton could be the Week 1 starter. 

It still comes down to the Packers. Aaron Rodgers’ situation will be monitored closest in Minnesota. The Vikings are 6-7-1 against the Packers under Zimmer, but he is 1-3 against the Packers since Matt LaFleur took over. Those are the games that will tilt the division either way, and that won’t change even if Rodgers leaves. 

A slightly-above .500 projection feels right, but Minnesota has the most room to benefit if Rodgers does leave Green Bay. 

Record prediction: 9-8


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