The Vikings schedule is expected to be announced this month. It’ll be the first of two seasons playing at TCF Bank Stadium with the Vikings’ new stadium is under construction.
With that, there are some scheduling restrictions in place between the University of Minnesota and the Vikings under the facility use agreement for as long as the Vikings play at TCF Bank Stadium.
*The Vikings can only use the stadium for one weeknight game each season when class is not in session. That game must be coordinated and approved by the school in its sole discretion, according to the agreement.
The school semester ends on Dec. 18. Thanksgiving (Nov. 27) would be the only possibility of a weeknight home game during the school year that would work. The Vikings hosted every Thursday night game (Tampa Bay and Washington) since the NFL forced every team to play at least one Thursday night game two years ago.
Without a university off day on Monday during the fall semester, it’s very difficult to see the Vikings host a Monday Night Football game given their only opportunity will be in Week 16 on Dec. 22. That doesn’t exactly sound appealing when Monday Night Football games can’t be flexed and the team went 5-10-1 last season. The Vikings haven't hosted a Monday night game since Dec. 20, 2010 against the Bears at TCF Bank Stadium after the Metrodome roof collapsed.
*The Vikings can host a Saturday home game when there isn’t a scheduled Gophers football game. The NFL brought back Saturday games this season after a one-year hiatus and will have a two-game Saturday doubleheader in Week 16 on Dec. 20.
The Gophers season ends on Nov. 29 with their last home game on Nov. 15, so there won’t be any conflict there.
*In the agreement, the University asks that the Vikings make their best efforts to work with the NFL to avoid scheduling games during Gophers football games and the Minnesota State Fair (Aug.21-Sept. 1). The University also would like to minimize conflicts with the university academic calendar. Some of the events listed include move-in (Aug. 15, 25-26, 30), Welcome Week (Aug. 27-Sept 1) and Finals (Dec. 12-18).
This portion of the agreement is pretty much in the NFL’s hands. Based on the language, both sides understand that scheduling around all these dates will be difficult and that there’s a good chance there's a Gophers and Vikings game at TCF Bank Stadium on the same weekend. Here’s the Gophers home schedule:
Aug. 28 vs. Eastern Illinois
Sept. 6 vs. Middle Tennessee State
Sept. 20 vs. San Jose State
Oct. 11 vs. Northwestern
Oct 18 vs. Purdue
Nov. 8 vs. Iowa
Nov. 15 vs. Ohio State
*The University would also like the Vikings and the NFL to reserve two Sundays in November and December for Gophers home basketball games. In the event a Vikings home game is scheduled on the same day of a Gophers hockey or basketball game, university hockey and basketball season ticket holders have priority to reserved parking and “available public parking will be severely limited.”