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A Few Quick Schedule Observations

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 19, 2011 – 3:01 pm

The NFL released its 2011 regular season schedule on Tuesday and there’s a lot to digest.

2011 Vikings Interactive Schedule >>

View / Download The Schedule (PDF) >>

Discuss The Schedule Via The vikings.com Message Board >>

2011 Vikings Preseason Schdule >>

Game-By-Game Breakdown & Notes >>

We’ll have much more on the Vikings slate of games in the next 24 hours or so, but here are a few quick thoughts until then…

– Opening at San Diego isn’t the greatest draw in the world; you’d like to save that road trip for November or December. On top of that, Vikings fans in Minnesota will have to wait until 3:15 p.m. CT to watch the first regular season game. But at least we know the weather will be good and it’s nice to get 1 of the 8 road games out of the way early.

– A pair of home games (against Tampa Bay and then Detroit) in the first 3 weeks gives the Vikings a bit of an edge early in the season, and we can all agree it’s nice to get off to a solid start. I’m not saying the Vikings will win both of those home games, but I am saying it’s better to have 2 of your first 3 games at home instead of on the road.

– The Vikings have had more than their share of prime time games in 2009 and 2010, with many of them coming on the road. In 2011, though, the Vikings have just 2 scheduled prime time games – Sunday Night Football in Chicago on October 16 and Monday Night Football in Green Bay on November 14.

– I prefer games that begin at 12:00 p.m. CT, and for some reason I think the Vikings play better in that time slot as well. The good news this season is the Vikings have 11 games slated to begin at that hour, including the final 4 games and 5 of the final 6.

– A bye week after 8 games is ideal, and that’s what the Vikings have in 2011. A Week 9 bye means coaches and players (and staff) get a week off right in the middle of the regular season. Also, the bye week helps take a little of the sting away from traveling to road games, and the Vikings will be on the road the week before and the week after their bye.

– No road games in consecutive weeks is a big plus. The Vikings had back-to-back scheduled road games 5 times in the past 2 seasons and the Vikings are just 6-10 on the road in the past 2 years, so it’s nice to have a break from that scheduling quirk. The Vikings do play road games on each side of the bye, but as I stated above, the bye week takes the sting away from having to be on the road.

– The Vikings play 2 games against Green Bay in less than a month, with Game 1 at home on October 23 and Game 2 in Lambeau on November 14. That’s an unusual development but one that adds an interesting dynamic to this rivalry.

– The Vikings last 4 games are all against NFC teams, which can mean a lot in the playoff hunt. NFC games have tie-breaking implications, and with 2 of the final 4 games being division games there will be even more potentially on the line for the Vikings in the final month.

– Closing the season with a home game in Week 17 and 2 home games in the final 3 weeks is an advantage, especially if you’re in a playoff hunt. We won’t put the cart before the horse and declare the Vikings a playoff contender already, but if the Vikings are in a playoff battle late in the season, they’ll have the home-field advantage working in their favor.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 36 Comments »


36 Responses to “A Few Quick Schedule Observations”

  1. By Frederick Jones on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    On paper it looks like an easy schedule, but you never know which teams are going to have great years.

  2. By Frederick Jones on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    @DRS,

    The NFL has been 70% black since probably the late 1980s. That’s not really big news.

    It is amazing how attitudes towards the color of one’s skin, still has an effect on the NFL.

    Scientists discovered many years ago, that THERE IS ONLY ONE RACE. Genetics are comparable within all colors whether yellow, black , white, brown, red, whatever.

    Michael Jordan can jump. We all know people that can’t jump, some have very dark skin!

  3. By Daniel on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    This draft is going to be great! I can not wait to hear the names they call for us. I think it is going to blow people out of the water. I really feel the more homework you do on you players, the better idea you have on who you want. I have a ton of the crew who has handled this years crop. I feel good about who they will keep and who they will let go. Man, the Childress thing has been one bad hangover! look at the guys he brought in… somebody get me a tums. What ever happens we all need to lift them up anywhere and everywhere, or they will be in L.A. if that happens I will never watch NFL again.

  4. By animal26 on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t feel confident in this schedule. It looks just as hard as last year for the Vikes. I see another 6-10 season………….

  5. By Anton on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    I would much rather play the Chargers the first month than the last month. History has shown that the Chargers always catch fire in Dec. so I disagree about saving that road game for Dec.

  6. By Titus on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    Anton is right– the past 5 years or so, the Chargers have been almost unbeatable in the last 6 weeks of the season– they manhandled Indy in Indianapolis at least once or twice in Dec, and the playoffs.

    I think with the QB position improved (whether Webb, or whomever) , we will go 10-6.

  7. By Titus on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    Fred– you are right, especially since many of these teams were so so the past couple years and many of them are striving to get better– Denver and Oakland have winning traditions and you can be assured they always try to get to the top– Redskins too– they will be 2nd year under Shanahan, so they might start to get some consistency– BUT I venture to say this schedule is easier than our 2010 schedule– that was a nasty one.

  8. By Titus on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    Mike– explain what this “interesting dynamic” is–

    The Vikings play 2 games against Green Bay in less than a month, with Game 1 at home on October 23 and Game 2 in Lambeau on November 14. That’s an unusual development but one that adds an interesting dynamic to this rivalry.

  9. By Mike B on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    Why couldn’t we have gotten this schedule last year. We got the AFC West and NFC South is a much softer schedule than last year.

  10. By kluwe on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    We need to learn how to win before we even think playoffs, haven’t seen the light at the end of the tunnel for this team, if we can’t even get to the superbowl with favre and an all star cast of stars, how will next season magically get us to win it all. Sorry to be the party pooper but I just don’t see this team getting to the playoffs next year. We can’t close out games and if you’ve been a fan long enough you know its either we start slow end slow or start fast and find a way to knock ourselves out of it.

  11. By celticvikingwarrior on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    I HAVE BEEN A VIKINGS FAN FOR 50 YEARS (I’M 55) THE LAST 49 OF THEM FROM L.A. AND I DO NOT WANT THEM HERE. I WANT THEM WHERE THEY BELONG, WHERE WE BOTH WERE BORN. WHERE MY (SPORTS) HEART IS…AND AS MUCH AS IT RIP’S AT MY HEART, I PRAY WE START WEBB ALL YEAR, HE PLAY’S WELL AT TIMES SHOW’S FLASHES OF BRILLIANCE AND ULTIMATELY PLAY’S LIKE A SECOND YEAR PRO. ANYONE WITH HALF A BRAIN KNOW’S WE ARE NOT GOING TO, LET ALONE WIN THE SUPER BOWL THIS YEAR, I DON’T CARE WHO’S AT QB,.SO PLAY GOOD HARD VIKING’S FOOTBALL LOSE A WHOLE LOT OF CLOSE, COMPETATIVE GAMES, GET THE WORST, (OR CLOSE TO) WON,LOSS RECORD AND DRAFT THE BEST (BARELY ARGUABLE) COLLEGE QB I’VE EVER SEEN AND EASILY THE CLOSEST TO A SURE THING THERE IS–ANDREW LUCK. WE THEN HAVE A LEGITIMATE SHOT AT A SUPERBOWL FOR THE NEXT DECADE, AT LEAST!!!!. FINALLY HAVING THE FRANCHISE QB THIS FRANCHISE SO RICHLY DESERVES. I KNOW MOST OF YOU WILL “FLIP OUT” OVER THIS NOTION, BUT IF YOU THINK IT OUT SPOCK LIKE (LOGICALLY) IT’S EASILY BEST FOR THE TEAM(S) FOR THE FUTURE. SKOL VIKES

  12. By Daniel on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    @celticvikingwarrior,
    THERE!!!!!!! somebody with some brains!!!! no doubt. Lets get luck next year.

  13. By jayson on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    I wouldnt be heart broken if the vikes ended up with Luck next year but why count them out this year? The NFL is much different now a days and it is very possible that the Vikes could make the playoffs this year. with a QB that can just manage the O and minimize mistakes, the Vikes are right up there with the best teams. They STILL have a very good D and as long as the O can move the ball and put up some points I think our D can return to a top 5 form. Anything can happen. For example, last year the Packers went 10-6 and for a big part of the year they looked like an OK team but they came together at the end and look what happened. Likewise, the Falcons were a 13-3 team but got blown out in thier first playoff game. What i am trying to say is NO ONE really knows what is going to happen when the teams come out this year so why cant the Vikes be a team that surprises?

  14. By JOSH on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    JAYSON, THAT IS SO TRUE ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, EVERY YEAR IS DIFF. AND I MEAN EVERY YEAR AND EVERY SUNDAY, TWO EXAMPLES OF THIS, 2009 VIKES AND 2010 VIKES, AND DID ANYONE THINK WE WOULD BEAT VICK’S PHILI TEAM LAST YEAR??? ANY GIVEN SUNDAY BOYS AND ANY GIVEN YEAR, BELIEVE 14-2 SKOL VIKINGS!!!!

  15. By Mike Wobschall on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    Titus – It’s an interesting dynamic because these teams know each other so well and so playing one another just 3 weeks apart presents extra challenges for both teams in their preparation for each game, especially the 2nd game.

  16. By Parody on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    I think what’s more interesting about it is that both teams have their bye week in the middle of the games. So both teams will only play one other game (Panthers for Vikings, Chargers for Packers) before meeting up again. We get a slight advantage in that our bye week is the game before the second meeting, whereas the Packers’ is the game after the first meeting. But then the Packers get the upper hand back at the second meeting with homefield advantage.

    It has the potential for being a very exciting 3-weeks of football, but the Vikings need to see vast improvements over last year’s team to make that happen.

  17. By Frederick Jones on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    @Celtic Warrior,

    I am impressed you have been a fan of the Vikings in LA. You are right that sending them to LA might make them a completely different team with a different name.

    Predictions are predictions. Nobody knows what will happen, that is why we play the games. My brother always predicts they will go 16-0, whereas I usually am more likely to take your approach. Then I just hope he is right ! ! !

  18. By Frederick Jones on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    @Titus,

    It’s always good to hear from you. Do you think the Vikings will get a new stadium?

  19. By Jeremy on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    I thank the person(s) who is responsible for the Vikes’ schedule! I like what I see, on paper, anyhow~ The BYE midway is also key, in my mind~

  20. By OLD SCHOOL on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    1-5 TO START THE SEASON! The only win coming against the Cards! Unless our secondary still sucks, which is par for course, then Larry Fitz will have 5 TD catches and we will still lose!

  21. By Titus on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    BAAAA– BUZZER!
    Wrong Old School. Sorry, but we will be 3-2 at least in the first five games– might lose at KC, but we will definitely win our three home games.
    What are you Old School, a Charger fan?

  22. By Titus on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    That Chicago game might be tough– who knows, though– we might be 4-2 at that point– Chicago embarrassed our players twice last year– I think we will show them— especially with the Bears coaching staff we have— Frazier and Singletary– there are many intangibles that go into winning.
    The more I think about it, the more I realize how wrong Old School is.

  23. By Titus on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    MIKE???

    Titus – It’s an interesting dynamic because these teams know each other so well and so playing one another just 3 weeks apart presents extra challenges for both teams in their preparation for each game, especially the 2nd game.

    MIKE– what are these extra challenges?

  24. By Titus on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    Trying to lose to get the top pick to grab Luck next year sounds great in theory. But life does not work that way. Suppose Luck becomes injured between now or then? Suppose he quits football? Suppose a hundred scenarios.
    We play to win. Period. NO ONE knows what tomorrow will bring.

  25. By Dan on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    Titus I would think one of the extra challenges would be to come up with something different as far as a game plan for the second game and not tipping your hand in the first game. With the games so close together I think it will be a challenge to pull off both things.

  26. By dave on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    If we do that bad vikings fans wont be that mad but even if we dont do that bad there is someone like matt Barkley we could get to if he doesnt get injured or something but lets try not to get dead last.

  27. By Dan on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    I do not have real high hopes for the season for several reasons. First is the QB situation. Second is the o-line and third is wide reciever. I would not however be very surprised if the Vikes had a good season. I really think Fraizer was the right man to hire for the job. I also think the D is a lot better than most give it credit for. They did end the season ranked 8th over all last season. Yes there are things they could do better like Allen staying in his lane on third and short and not giving up the easy first down. I was also very encouaged by the Philly game last season. The offense still wasnt that great but the D was outstanding and easily handled one of the top offenses in the league. Winfield blitzing out of the slot could give teams a real headache this upcoming season. I really think there is a strong chance the Vikes could be one of those teams that have people wondering where they came from come playoff time when they are in the hunt when most have them wrote off already.

  28. By Titus on Apr 20, 2011 | Reply

    Dan, thanks for your input— I am trying to push Mike W. to write more compelling copy and actually doing analysis. Saying there is an interesting dynamic does not tell me anything. Then when I questioned that Mike answered it is interesting because it brings up extra challenges— again, meaningless. What is being said? It is fluff. Its like asking a person why they are moving to a certain location and their answer is ‘Its nice.”

  29. By Parody on Apr 21, 2011 | Reply

    @ Titus – You’ve never sounded more like a teacher than from that statement. I can’t fathom how many times I’ve received the same sort of comment on homework and assignments. I must admit though, it is effective. Sometimes it’s so effective that it causes me to change my position after pushing myself to analyze every aspect of a situation.

  30. By Rudso on Apr 21, 2011 | Reply

    We’ll be fine. We’re a really good team who just got bad luck off the field last year. I would love to see how other teams would deal with all the stuff we dealt with last season. Both on the field and off the field. We have star talent all over the field. We have Peterson, Harvin, Rice, Greenway, Allen, Williams. The list goes on. We just need a QB who can manage the game and not turn the ball over. He doesn’t have to be a star right away, just get the ball to our other stars and let them make the play. We greatly improved on our coaching side. Frazier and Singeltary are both defensive minded SB winning players, I have full faith they will greatly improve our Defense. New OC coach who nurtured Matt Ryan will have plenty to work with with Joe Webb and who ever we pick this draft.

    We have good drafts, so I have faith we will score on a couple of players this year who will start right away and contribute. Obiously I hope its at the QB position and a play maker at DB. There is no reason or excuse why we shouldn’t be able to compete for the play offs this season. We will be perfectly fine. Chin up fellow Vikings!

  31. By Titus on Apr 21, 2011 | Reply

    @ Parody, thanks, I take that as a compliment. I think.

    @ Rudso– exactly my sentiments. 10-6 this year is viable, and maybe we do even better.

  32. By rocky point mexico on Apr 22, 2011 | Reply

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  33. By Titus on Apr 22, 2011 | Reply

    Rocky,

    This article is superficial in its analysis at best. San Diego is unstoppable late in the season– probably no losses after late November for the past 4 plus years and yet this article states we would be better to face this team when they are invincible— the logical conclusion of this article being, simply, that it is better for the Vikings to lose to San Diego and have a vacation during the winter, than to beat them.

    That is not a wonderful thought.

    I could go on and on.

  34. By Parody on Apr 22, 2011 | Reply

    @Titus – Yes, it was intended as a compliment. I failed to mention that it is only the good teachers who ask questions like yours. Sometimes the question can be taken offensively, at which point it loses its intent. But if the question is read with the understanding that the person who wrote the question is only trying to encourage you to improve your writing skills, then it almost always proves to be very helpful.

  35. By Parody on Apr 22, 2011 | Reply

    The biggest obstacle for our team’s success is that we haven’t decided on the starting QB yet. Unless the man who lands the position is a quick study, it could make for some very difficult games early in the season as he is getting accustomed to the intricacies of the offense. This above all else, will make it very important that we have a strong running team that can shoulder the load and consistently move the chains.

  36. By dave on Apr 23, 2011 | Reply

    to make our line better we could draft mike pouncey, if free agency get harvey dahl and maybe trade mckenie even if draft next year and get a different o tackle in 2nd if we want a good line and i think part of the reason we did bad is becuz of childress we shouldve never hired him

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