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Though the exact dates and times of their 2023 regular-season games will be released to the world Thursday, the Vikings have known their opponents for months. And while their top-heavy schedule includes matchups with all four 2022 AFC and NFC finalists, the difficult set of games is balanced out by matchups against teams in transition.

The Vikings will face the Chiefs, Bengals, Eagles and 49ers in 2023, traveling to Philadelphia for the second consecutive season and making their second trip to Cincinnati in three years. They will see Patrick Mahomes at U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time, and thanks to their first-place NFC North schedule, they'll also have a home date with the NFC West champion 49ers.

But even with those matchups against some of the NFL's best, the Vikings' 2023 schedule is ranked only the 18th-toughest in the league, with their opponents going 143-145 in 2022. They will play seven games against teams with new starting quarterbacks, including two against the Packers with Jordan Love set to take over for Aaron Rodgers and one against the Panthers with No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young expected to start as a rookie.

It's an intriguing set of games for the Vikings' second season under Kevin O'Connell, who hired Brian Flores to run the defense over the winter. A year after going 13-4, the Vikings will try to manage their toughest matchups against the proven QBs on their schedule while taking advantage of games against some of the league's most inexperienced passers. Before the NFL schedule is released, here is a refresher on some of the Vikings' most intriguing 2023 matchups:

Vikings face Packers with Love at QB for the first time
When Aaron Rodgers made his first start as Brett Favre's successor in 2008, it came in a Monday night regular-season opener against the Vikings at Lambeau Field. Jordan Love replaces Rodgers this year, and it stands to reason at least one of his games against the Vikings will be broadcast on national TV. The Packers have opened two of the past three seasons at U.S. Bank Stadium, with O'Connell getting his first NFL victory in a 23-7 win over Green Bay in Week 1 last year.

Mahomes comes to Minneapolis
Before winning two league MVP awards in his first six seasons, Patrick Mahomes spent time in the Twin Cities as a baby when his father, Pat, was pitching for the Twins. His time in Minnesota will be a popular story line before his first game at U.S. Bank Stadium, in what would also be the Vikings' first regular-season matchup against him. Mahomes missed the Chiefs' 2019 game against the Vikings because of injury, with Matt Moore leading Kansas City to an overtime victory in place of Mahomes.

Tough road tests for defense vs. Burrow, Hurts
The past two years, the Vikings have absorbed their first loss of the season on the road against teams that would go on to the Super Bowl. Their penalty-ridden performance led to an overtime loss in the regular-season opener in 2021 against Cincinnati, while the Vikings followed their Week 1 win over the Packers with a 17-point loss to Philadelphia in Week 2 last year. They'll face both Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts on the road in 2023, in what could be the two toughest challenges for Flores' new defense.

Old friend (and new face) in Carolina
The Vikings will play the entire NFC South this season, traveling to Atlanta and Carolina while hosting New Orleans and Tampa Bay. Their trip to Charlotte means they'll face Adam Thielen in his first year with the Panthers; Thielen, who signed a three-year deal with Carolina after his March release from the Vikings, will work with No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young, as the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner figures to start for Carolina. All four NFC South teams are in line to have new starters at quarterback; if the Vikings catch some of those teams early in the season, they could benefit from facing opponents who are still trying to establish themselves.

AFC West trips could be popular for fans
The Vikings have seen increasingly strong fan support at road games in recent years, and as they make two rare road trips to AFC West venues, their traveling fans could take advantage of popular destinations. They'll play a regular-season game in Denver for the first time since 2015, facing a Broncos team trying to rebuild with a pair of old Vikings nemeses (coach Sean Payton and quarterback Russell Wilson). And after playing a preseason game in Las Vegas last season, the Vikings will face the Raiders there in the regular season for the first time, as O'Connell and Flores renew acquaintances with their old Patriots colleague Josh McDaniels.