The Minnesota Vikings have qualified for the playoffs three times in the past five years, including two NFC North division titles, but the franchise hasn't reached the Super Bowl since 1976.
Minnesota returns most of its major contributors from last season. It's a group led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, running back Dalvin Cook and wide receiver Adam Thielen on offense and defensive end Danielle Hunter, linebacker Eric Kendricks and safety Harrison Smith on defense.
While wideout Stefon Diggs was traded to the Buffalo Bills and cornerback Trae Waynes left in free agency to join the Cincinnati Bengals, the Vikings bolstered their roster with a pair of first-round draft picks in wide receiver Justin Jefferson and cornerback Jeff Gladney.
Let's check out Minnesota's complete schedule for 2020 as announced Thursday on its official website. That's followed by a look to what to expect as it attempts to end its extended Super Bowl drought.
Vikings 2020 Schedule
On paper, Minnesota is set to navigate a schedule with a lot of 50-50 games and few gimmes, which means its fate will likely be heavily dependent on its record in one-score contests.
The numbers back up the difficulty to the slate, with the Vikings owning the 10th-hardest schedule in the league based on last year's winning percentages, per CBS Sports.
All told, the Vikings could end up going up against the toughest set of opponents in the league. That could complicate their journey toward the playoffs, though they have the talent to overcome that hurdle.
The division title will be particularly important for Minnesota this season because the NFC wild-card race figures to become a crowded mess, and no team wants to place their fate in the hands of tiebreakers.
In turn, the Vikings' two most important games are the head-to-head meetings with the Green Bay Packers. A sweep would not only put the team on pace to take the division, but it would also give it the inside track on possibly capturing the top seed in the NFC.
Beyond that, the focus will be on six games against teams they may end up battling for wild-card berths—the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At minimum, they'll likely need a 4-2 record from those contests.
The bottom line is Minnesota will be playing an important game pretty much every week, and it wouldn't be a surprise if its playoff fate comes right down to the final weeks, if not the last contest. Whether that constant pressure takes a cumulative toll is a factor to consider as the year goes on.