The Vikings’ inability to win big games on the road was one of the main reasons they missed the playoffs in 2018. Their 2019 postseason fate could hinge on their ability to fix that. All four of their road games in the second half of the season are against 2018 playoff teams, including two West Coast night games in December. The Vikings, who went 1-4 in prime time last year, will have five night games again in 2019, including three on the road. Here is a game-by-game look at the team’s 2019 schedule:
Week 1: vs. Atlanta, Sept. 8, noon
The Vikings open at home for the third consecutive year and kick off the season against a Falcons team that also took a step back after reaching the playoffs in 2017. Atlanta spent part of the offseason reworking its offensive line, and its receiving tandem of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley will give the Vikings defense an early test.
Week 2: at Green Bay, Sept. 15, noon
Daniel Carlson will not be in the building for a rematch of the epic 29-29 tie that led to the rookie kicker’s ouster last year. A week after facing Matt Ryan, the Vikings will get Aaron Rodgers on the road, in their first look at new Packers coach Matt LaFleur’s offense.
Week 3: vs. Oakland, Sept. 22, noon
This could offer a brief respite in the midst of a tough early stretch of games, but it means a third difficult matchup for Xavier Rhodes, who figures to get Antonio Brown after facing Jones and Davante Adams in the first two games.
Week 4: at Chicago, 3:25 p.m.
The Vikings’ futility at Soldier Field (two wins since 2007) is well-established, but they’ll at least face the defending NFC North champions on the road while the weather still figures to be pleasant.
Week 5: at N.Y. Giants, Oct. 6, noon
The Vikings face Pat Shurmur, their former offensive coordinator, for the first time since he became Giants coach after the 2017 season. With Odell Beckham Jr. gone, slowing down Saquon Barkley figures to be the priority here.
Week 6: vs. Philadelphia, Oct. 13, noon
If Carson Wentz is healthy this year, this one could trigger an influx of fans from North Dakota, eager to see the former NDSU quarterback face the Vikings in the stadium where he sat out Super Bowl LII because of a torn ACL.
Week 7: at Detroit, Oct. 20, noon
The Vikings finish their NFC North road schedule by Week 7, in the only building where they won a division game on the road last season. Their offense floundered for much of the first half in Week 16 last year at Ford Field before they pulled away for a 27-9 victory.
Week 8: vs. Washington, Oct. 24, 7:20 p.m.
It’s a revenge game! This Thursday night game should be rife with subplots, with Kirk Cousins facing his old team for the first time, Case Keenum (potentially) coming back as a starting quarterback — and Adrian Peterson playing his second game in Minnesota as a visitor.
Week 9: at Kansas City, Nov. 3, noon
The Vikings have a mini-bye before what could be their toughest road game of 2019, as they travel to Arrowhead Stadium preparing to deal with NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and the prolific Chiefs offense. This marks the start of a stretch of nasty road trips that could define the season.
Week 10: at Dallas, Nov. 10, 7:20 p.m.
A Sunday night matchup at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, pits the Vikings against the NFC East champions from a year ago. The Vikings will have to hope for a strong prime-time showing from Cousins, whose only victory against the Cowboys in seven career games came in a Week 17 matchup that got the Redskins into the playoffs in 2015.
Week 11: vs. Denver, Nov. 17, noon
Denver comes to town for the first time since 2011, with Joe Flacco set to be the new Broncos starting quarterback. The Vikings’ last regular-season game against Denver came in 2015, when they lost by a field goal against a Broncos team that won the Super Bowl.
Week 12: Bye
This is the second-latest bye in team history; in 1991, the Vikings had a bye on Dec. 1.
Week 13: at Seattle, Dec. 2, 7:15 p.m.
Those looking for something to gripe about with the Vikings’ schedule could begin here, as Minnesota plays the first of its two West Coast night games in a building where the team was nearly shut out last season. The Vikings’ late bye week actually comes with an extra day, since this is a “Monday Night Football” game.
Week 14: vs. Detroit, Dec. 8, noon
The Vikings have three division home games in four weeks to end the season, and they will try to beat Detroit at home for the second consecutive year after a pair of peculiar losses to the Lions in their first two years at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Week 15: at L.A. Chargers, Dec. 15, 7:20 p.m.
If both teams remain in contention, this game would stay on Sunday night, as the Vikings try to win in what figures to be their only trip to the StubHub Center. The Chargers went 12-4 a year ago but lost in their tiny temporary home three times, including a Sunday night defeat against the Ravens in Week 16 last year.
Week 16: vs. Green Bay, Dec. 23, 7:15 p.m.
The Vikings are back on the Christmastime schedule with the Packers, who will make their latest trip in a season to Minnesota since their riveting Week 17 loss to the Vikings at the Metrodome in 2012, which set off a playoff rematch at Lambeau Field the following Saturday. If both teams are fighting for a playoff spot, count on a raucous atmosphere for this one.
Week 17: vs. Chicago, Dec. 29, noon
It is unclear why the NFL has made Bears-at-Vikings a staple of its Week 17 schedule; the Vikings have closed every season at U.S. Bank Stadium at home against Chicago. Last year, the matchup cost them a postseason berth; the year before that, they throttled the Bears to clinch a first-round bye.