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Vikings: 3 ways NFL screwed Minnesota over with 2022 schedule

Fansided logo Fansided 5/16/2022 John Buhler
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These three games could cost the Minnesota Vikings dearly on their 2022 season schedule.

Pencil in the Minnesota Vikings as one of the teams most likely to make the playoffs who did not a year ago in the NFL.

Minnesota employs a Pro Bowl-caliber franchise quarterback in Kirk Cousins. Not only that, but he finally has an offensive-minded head coach in the Twin Cities with Kevin O'Connell coming over from the Los Angeles Rams. O'Connell may be a first-time head coach, but he and Cousins have a previous working relationship from their time together in Washington. So things are looking up!

However, the NFL did the Vikings no favors with where it scheduled these three games for them.

Minnesota Vikings: 3 instances where the NFL made their schedule harder

3. Week 2: at Philadelphia Eagles (Monday, Sept. 19)

Admittedly, there are not a ton of questionable games on the Vikings' schedule, but one that does stand out to some degree is who they are playing in Week 2. Minnesota will have to travel to the City of Brotherly Love to take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. This is the second of two non-early-window starts for Cousins. Two losses may only add to his "narrative".

Although the Vikings have all offseason to prepare for the arch rival Green Bay Packers coming to town in Week 1, they only have a week to adjust to whatever Nick Sirianni and the boys come up with in Philadelphia. One could argue this game could potentially decide playoff positioning at regular season's end. Expect for the head-to-head tiebreaker to carry weight later in the season.

Cousins may have a strong history with the Eagles from his time in Washington, but Minnesota does not play them as frequently. Therefore, there is a decent chance the Vikings could start the year out at 0-2. Conversely, they could be 2-0 heading into Week 3's home game vs. the division rival Detroit Lions. An extra day to prepare certainly helps, but their first two games are not easy.

This is why it is imperative for Cousins to have a strong first quarter of the season for the Vikings.

2. Week 18: at Chicago Bears (Sunday,  Jan. 8)

The Chicago Bears?! Are you flipping kidding me? No, for real. This is a dangerous game for the Vikings for so many reasons. It is the final game of the season, and even though the rebuilding Bears may have long been out of the playoff mix, they are getting the Vikings at home and presumably in bad weather. This comes right after the Vikings play Green Bay at Lambeau Field.

Though Cousins has historically held his own vs. the Packers, the road date at the Bears is a prime letdown game for the Vikings for so many reasons. Whether it is the weather, the Vikings not taking the Bears seriously or any other possible factors, this has the chance to be the Minnesota version of the 2021 Indianapolis Colts heading down to Duval and losing the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In short, the Bears could play loose because they have nothing left to lose. Expect for Minnesota to play tight into this one, as a playoff berth or playoff positioning could be in play heading into the final weekend. With Soldier Field being one of the worst playing surfaces in the league, we could see the latest snakebitten, unmitigated disaster of epic proportions for long-suffering Minnesota.

The Vikings are way better served playing a team like the Packers in the final week of the season.

1. Week 10: at Buffalo Bills (Sunday, Nov. 13)

If there is any real beef with how the Vikings' schedule shakes out, it has to be playing the Buffalo Bills on the road in Week 10. While the Bills have not been to the Super Bowl since Jim Kelly was their quarterback, it is only a matter of time before Josh Allen, Sean McDermott and the rest of the core get it done. Regardless, Buffalo should remain one of the better teams in the AFC this season.

What makes this game challenging besides the obvious is that it will be the second road game in a row for the Vikings. They will take on Carson Wentz and the Washington Commanders in Week 9. Though having both of these road games kick off in the early-afternoon window absolutely serves Cousins, you better believe he will be extra fired up to stick it to the Washington football franchise.

Not to say there will be an emotional letdown for the Vikings when they take on the Bills, but it could be especially challenging for Cousins and his teammates to sustain that level of passion and energy. Given that Minnesota is not expected to beat the Bills in Orchard Park, they will probably be pressing and may play one of their tighter games of the year. Mistakes may be out the wazoo.

If there is any game on the Vikings' schedule they are not winning, it has to be Week 10 at Buffalo.

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