This grouping of rugged teams was once known as “the Black and Blue Division” for its hard-hitting style of play. The teams still perform that way which makes intra-division contests very exciting.
A pre-season projection has the team from the twin cities winning just seven games in 2015. That may turn out to be true, but this squad showed signs of improvement under rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
In the upcoming season, Bridgewater will have superstar running back Adrian Peterson lining up with him. This tandem could enable the Vikings to surprise some teams.
It won’t be easy because of the division in which they play and because their Strength of Schedule rating is an uncomfortable .539. That number reflects the collective winning percentage last year of the teams the Minnesota squad will play this year.
Graphic via rantsports
Interestingly, and perhaps disturbingly, it is the twelfth most difficult schedule in the National Football League tin 2015.
Difficult games will come early and often for this cold weather team. The Vikings square off against divisional rival Detroit at home on September 20th, against Green Bay on November 22nd and against the Chicago Bears on December 20th, just a few days before Christmas.
Of course, they have to play their divisional foes on the road, as well. In 2015, that means a trip to Detroit on October 25th, to Chicago on November 1st and to Green Bay on January 3rd, the last day of the regular season.
There are other tough opponents scheduled to meet the Vikings in Minnesota. These include the San Diego Chargers on September 27th, the Kansas City Chiefs on October 18th, the St. Louis Rams on November 6th, the rugged Seattle Seahawks on December 6th and the high-flying New York Giants on December 27th.
Road contests will also take the Vikings to Denver, Atlanta, San Francisco for a nationally-televised Monday night game on September 14th and Arizona for another nationally-televised game, this time on Thursday night December 10th.
There is no doubt that this northern squad is facing a tough schedule with very few, if any, “easy games.” It may be why they are projected to win only seven of sixteen games.
For the Minnesota Vikings this year, the competition is tough and their quarterback is young … and still learning.
The future may be bright for this developing team, but the real good times may not arrive until 2016 and beyond. Time will tell.
Graphic via bleacherreport