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2014 Minnesota Vikings Schedule: Full Listing of Dates, Times and TV Info

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 1:  Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball for ten thousand career rushing yards against Chris Conte #47 of the Chicago Bears on December 1, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images
Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IApril 23, 2014

After missing the NFL playoffs for the third time in four seasons in 2013, the Minnesota Vikings are flying under the radar heading into 2014 as they aim to turn things around under first-year head coach Mike Zimmer. 

Zimmer, who had previously been a defensive coordinator for three different teams since 2000, is known as a players' coach who gets the most out of his roster, per KFAN1003 on Twitter:

Despite surrendering tons of yards and points last season, Minnesota built some positive momentum over the second half of the 2013 season, going 4-3-1 over its final eight games after a 1-7 start to the year. But with a new regime in place and a challenging regular-season schedule on tap, the Vikings will need more than momentum to get back to the postseason.

Below, we'll break down the Vikings' 2014 regular-season slate, courtesy of NFL.com

2014 Minnesota Vikings Regular-Season Schedule
WeekDateOpponentTime (ET)TV
1Sept. 7at Rams1 p.m.Fox
2Sept. 14vs. Patriots1 p.m.CBS
3Sept. 21at Saints1 p.m.Fox
4Sept. 28vs. Falcons1 p.m.Fox
5Oct. 2at Packers8:25 p.m.CBS, NFLN
6Oct. 12vs. Lions1 p.m.Fox
7Oct. 19at Bills1 p.m.Fox
8Oct. 26at Buccaneers1 p.m.Fox
9Nov. 2vs. Redskins1 p.m.Fox
10BYE
11Nov. 16at Bears1 p.m.Fox
12Nov. 23vs. Packers1 p.m.Fox
13Nov. 30vs. Panthers1 p.m.Fox
14Dec. 7vs. Jets1 p.m.CBS
15Dec. 14at Lions1 p.m.Fox
16Dec. 21at Dolphins1 p.m.Fox
17Dec. 28vs. Bears1 p.m.Fox
NFL.com

 

Analysis

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 29:  Cordarrelle Patterson #84 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball 50 yards for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions on December 29, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnes
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Although there are no guarantees in the NFL, the Vikings can't complain about their 2014 schedule. After all, they'll only face three teams that won more than eight games in 2013, and the combined winning percentage of their 13 opponents is just .476, making Minnesota's schedule the 12th easiest of all 32 teams.

The favorable slate could be an even bigger advantage if Minnesota's offseason moves pan out, per USA Today NFL writer Nate Davis on Twitter:

Clearly, the Vikings will have to fare better against their NFC North rivals in 2014 in order to have a shot at the postseason. But there's certainly a lot for Minnesota to feel good about considering how it finished the 2013 season. 

After falling to 0-3 in the division in Week 8, the Vikings concluded the year going 2-0-1 against the NFC North, tying the Packers on the road and beating the Bears and Lions at home. If the Vikings can find a way to win their three home division games next fall, and maybe steal one on the road, they'll be in pretty good shape.

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 24:  The Green Bay Packers line up against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on November 24, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo Tom Lynn /Getty Images)
Tom Lynn/Getty Images

Outside of the division, Minnesota will play the NFC South and the AFC East. The Vikings will get the Panthers and Falcons at home, but play the Saints and Buccaneers on the road. A record of 2-2 or better against those four conference foes would be good news for Minnesota given the fact Carolina and New Orleans reached the NFC divisional playoffs a year ago.

Out of conference, the Vikings will host the Patriots and Jets while playing the Bills and Dolphins on the road. Of those four clubs, only New England was a playoff team last season. However, Miami came close to earning the final wild-card berth and will be a tough opponent on the road, so Minnesota's matchups with New York and Buffalo will be critical to its postseason hopes.  

The final two NFC opponents the Vikings have to worry about are the Redskins and Rams, two teams that present winnable matchups for Minnesota. Therefore, if the Vikings can take care of business at home in 2014, possibly winning six or more games, they'll have a great shot at contending for the NFC North crown or at least securing a wild-card berth. 

But with plenty of uncertainty at key positions, and a new coaching staff taking over, there are no guarantees that the Vikings will capitalize on their favorable schedule and return to the playoffs in 2014. 

 

Pivotal Matchups

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 19:   Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Im
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Although beating the New England Patriots isn't necessary for Minnesota to win the NFC North in 2014, beating the league's most consistent franchises would give the Vikings a huge boost to begin a new era under Zimmer.

While Minnesota will have a chance to prove itself at home against Green Bay and Carolina, among other NFC contenders, the Vikings' showdown with the Pats could potentially serve as a statement game.

Another Super Bowl contender the Vikings will face in 2014 is the New Orleans Saints, who will host Minnesota in the always-noisy Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where very few road teams have found success in recent years.

The Saints went 8-0 in their building a year ago. So, if the Vikings can snag a hard-fought road win in the Big Easy this coming fall, it could be the difference between whether Minnesota reaches the playoffs or watches from home.   

Finally, Vikings fans will surely have their two matchups with the Chicago Bears circled in red ink. Jared Allen, who spent six seasons in Minnesota, signed with the Bears in free agency and will surely be motivated to perform well against his former team.

After racking up 85.5 sacks for the Vikes, all eyes will be on Allen trying to wreak havoc and disrupt the passing game as a member of the division rival Bears.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter

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