2018 Minnesota Vikings Schedule: Full Listing of Dates, Times and TV Info

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2018

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) runs in for a game winning touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the second half of an NFL divisional football playoff game in Minneapolis, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. The Vikings defeated the Saints 29-24. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Associated Press

The Minnesota Vikings fell one win shy of the Super Bowl last season, so naturally they made the biggest splash of the offseason to ensure that wouldn't happen again. 

Although the club thrived with Case Keenum under center to the tune of a 13-3 record and NFC North title, the Vikings let the veteran journeyman walk in free agency and replaced him with Kirk Cousins on a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million deal. 

Now they'll enter the 2018 season with their sights set on the Vince Lombardi Trophy and nothing less. 

Below, we'll break down the new-look Vikes and the opponents they'll need to conquer following Thursday's schedule release. 

Here's a look at Minnesota's fresh slate, courtesy of NFL.com

       

Vikings' 2018 Schedule

Week 1: vs. San Francisco 49ers on Sept 9 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox

Week 2: at Green Bay Packers on Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox

Week 3: vs. Buffalo Bills on Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS

Week 4: at Los Angeles Rams on Sept 27 at 8:20 p.m. ET on Fox

Week 5: at Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 7 at 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox

Week 6: vs. Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox

Week 7: at New York Jets on Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox

Week 8: vs. New Orleans Saints on Oct. 28 at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC

Week 9: vs. Detroit Lions on Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox

Week 10: BYE WEEK

Week 11: at Chicago Bears on Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox

Week 12: vs. Green Bay Packers on Nov. 25 at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC

Week 13: at New England Patriots on Dec. 2 at 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox

Week 14: at Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 10 at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN

Week 15: vs. Miami Dolphins on Dec. 16 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS

Week 16: at Detroit Lions on Dec. 23 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox

Week 17: vs. Chicago Bears on Dec. 30 at 1 p.m. ET on Fox

        

Analysis

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 10:  Adam Thielen #19 of the Minnesota Vikings attempts a catch against Kevon Seymour #27 of the Carolina Panthers in the second quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 10, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolin
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Naturally, all eyes will be on Cousins as the Vikings pursue their first Super Bowl berth since the 1976 season. 

The 29-year-old thew for at least 4,000 yards in each of his last three seasons with the Washington Redskins, and he racked up 81 scores through the air during that stretch. 

In Minnesota, he'll look to replicate that production—or improve upon it—with playmakers Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and tight end Kyle Rudolph at his disposal. 

The Vikings will also receive a boost out of the backfield when Dalvin Cook returns from an ACL tear that derailed a promising rookie campaign. 

Prior to hitting injured reserve, the Florida State product looked like a legitimate offensive cornerstone as he rushed for 354 yards and two touchdowns while ripping off 4.8 yards per carry through his first four appearances. 

On defense, the Vikings will return the key pieces from a unit that led the NFL in scoring defense (15.8 points per game) last season.

Plus, they added defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson on a one-year prove-it deal and will now roll out a front four featuring Richardson and Linval Joseph on the interior with Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter coming off the edge. 

Taken all together, the Vikings have the makings of one of the NFL's most balanced teams and one that can legitimately challenge the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC crown. 

          

Pivotal Matchups

Matt Rourke/Associated Press

As always, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers will represent a litmus test for the Vikings as they vie for NFC North superiority. 

However, Minnesota's annual meetings with the Cheeseheads won't be the most compelling matchups on the schedule this year. 

That designation belongs to a pair of postseason rematches. 

The first will come in Week 5 when the Vikings head to Lincoln Financial Field for a showdown with the Eagles in a rematch of last season's NFC Championship Game.

The other will come in the form a divisional-round playoff rematch with the New Orleans Saints in Week 8. 

In that one, it will be the Vikings trying to stave off a motivated Saints squad that watched its Super Bowl hopes crumble when Diggs broke loose for a 61-yard game-winning touchdown as time expired to hand Minnesota a 29-24 win. 

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