The NFL released its 2012 schedule tonight and, by the looks of things, the Vikings aren’t being viewed as a team that the league wants to showcase in prime time other than its pledge to put every team in a prime time game in which it is the only NFL show in town.
First things first, here is the week-by-week schedule. All times are listed as Central Time.
Week 1 (Sunday, Sept. 9) – vs. Jacksonville, noon
Week 2 (Sunday, Sept. 16) – at Indianapolis, noon
Week 3 (Sunday, Sept. 23) – vs. San Francisco, noon
Week 4 (Sunday, Sept. 30) – at Detroit, noon
Week 5 (Sunday, Oct. 7) – vs. Tennessee, noon
Week 6 (Sunday, Oct. 14) – at Washington, 3:15 p.m.
Week 7 (Sunday, Oct. 21) – vs. Arizona, noon
Week 8 (Thursday, Oct. 25) – vs. Tampa Bay, 7:20 p.m.
Week 9 (Sunday, Nov. 4) – at Seattle, 3:05 p.m.
Week 10 (Sunday, Nov. 11) – vs. Detroit, noon
Week 11 – Bye week
Week 12 (Sunday, Nov. 25) – at Chicago, noon
Week 13 (Sunday, Dec. 2) – at Green Bay, noon
Week 14 (Sunday, Dec. 9) – vs. Chicago, noon
Week 15 (Sunday Dec. 16) – at St. Louis, noon
Week 16 (Sunday, Dec. 23) – at Houston, noon
Week 17 (Sunday, Dec. 30) – vs. Green Bay, noon
The first thing that jumps out at you is that the Vikings won’t have any games on Sunday or Monday night, which may not be a bad thing given their recent woes in prime time.
Historically, the Vikings have been a popular team in prime time. The last time the team didn’t have a Monday night game prior to this year was in 2003. However, the NFL hasn’t been overly willing to ask fans in the Metrodome “are you ready for some football?” on Monday nights. Since 2008, the only Monday night game scheduled at the Metrodome was against the Bears in 2010, but thanks to the Metrodome collapse, that game was played outdoors at a frigid TCF Bank Stadium. Since 2008, five of the seven scheduled MNF games have been on the road and the Vikings have lost four of those five. Since 2009, the Vikings have lost their last five Monday night games, including an unscheduled game against the Giants in 2010 two days after the dome collapse.
Things haven’t fared much better on Sunday night. The Vikings have lost six of their last seven Sunday night games – the last four of which have all been on the road.
The NFL Network game against the Bucs in Week 8 will be only the second time the Vikings have appeared on NFL Network’s Thursday night games. The first was a matchup with Green Bay in the inaugural season of the fledgling network in 2006.
If the team was looking for uniformity, they got it. Thirteen of their 16 games will be at noon local time on Sundays. The NFL has spoken and have told the Vikings to right the ship before they’re going to see the bright lights.
VU will break down the schedule to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of their 2012 slate.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.