QUARTERBACK CLOUT
The first thing that comes to mind when looking at the Vikings 2013 schedule is the amount of quarterback talent they'll be lining up against. With few exceptions, there will be some dangerous signal-callers on the opposing sidelines. A look at the opponents and their quarterbacks:
WEEK 1
SEP 8
AT

DETROIT

FOX
NOON
PREVIEW
The Lions plummeted to 4-12 after making the playoffs in 2011. They added Reggie Bush at running back, which should make a passing game that features QB Matthew Stafford and WR Calvin Johnson more varied. The defensive line of Ndamukong Suh, Jason Jones, Nick Fairley and top pick Ziggy Ansah could be great, but will the secondary support them?
OPPOSING QB
Matthew Stafford led the league in both attempts (727) and completions (435) in 2012, but his play didn't match the level of 2011, when he completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 5,048 yards, 41 TDs and 16 picks. In 2012 he completed less than 60 percent of his passes, had a 20-17 TD-to-interception ratio and the Lions took a huge step back. His passer rating of 79.8 was his lowest since his rookie season. Still, the Lions signed Stafford to a three-year, $53 million deal during the offseason.
WEEK 2
SEP 15
AT

CHICAGO

FOX
NOON
PREVIEW
The Bears went 10-6, missed the playoffs, dumped coach Lovie Smith and will finally focus on offense with new coach Marc Trestman.  QB Jay Cutler will have to adapt to a West Coast offense, but WR Brandon Marshall should continue to star. MLB Brian Urlacher retired, but CBs Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings are outstanding.
OPPOSING QB
Jay Cutler, in his fifth season with the Bears, is learning his fourth offense. This time it is head coach Marc Trestman's offense, a version of the traditional West Coast offense that stresses efficiency and a quick release. But Cutler has never had a passer rating higher than 88.1 as a full-time starter. In 2012 he completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 3,033 yards, but had 14 interceptions to go with 19 TD passes.
WEEK 3
SEP 22
VS.

CLEVELAND

CBS
NOON
PREVIEW
The Browns continue rebuilding, but there’s not a lot of hope after a 5-11 season.  RB Trent Richardson had an injury-plagued rookie season, and Brandon Weeden is no lock to start at QB.  Defensively, the Browns weren’t bad, but now will switch to a 3-4 system. A benefit of a bad season, though, is a fairly easy schedule.
OPPOSING QB
A first-round draft pick, Brandon Weeden started the 2012 season as a 28-year-old rookie who struggled along with his team. He completed 57.4 percent of his passes for 2,285 yards, but had more interceptions (17) than TDs (14) and had a 72.6 passer rating. New offensive coordinator Norv Turner figures to implement an offense that allows Weeden to throw downfield more, his strength.
WEEK 4
SEP 29
VS.

PITTSBURGH

IN LONDON • NOON • CBS
PREVIEW
The Steelers missed the playoffs at 8-8 and got rid of fumble-prone RB Rashard Mendenhall.  Can rookie Le’Veon Bell step in? On defense, rookie DE/LB Jarvis Jones should add life to an aging group as he attempts to fill the void left by departing James Harrison. It’s a prove-it year in Pittsburgh.
OPPOSING QB
The hits caught up to Ben Roethlisberger last season, with a nasty rib injury leading a list of bump and bruises that limited him to 13 games. Still, he was efficient, with a 63.3 pass completion percentage and a 26-to-8 TD-to-interception ratio. With the Steelers planning on emphasizing the passing game more, how will Roethlisberger hold up?
WEEK 5
OCT 6

BYE

WEEK 6
OCT 13
VS.

CAROLINA

FOX
NOON
PREVIEW
The Panthers finished the season by winning six of seven after a 1-8 start. Cam Newton will be more of a pocket QB this season, and DeAngelo Williams is still the featured RB.  On defense, ends Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson are excellent pass rushers, and MLB Luke Kuechly led the league in tackles. Still a lot of holes on the Panthers roster, though.
OPPOSING QB
Cam Newton had huge numbers as a rookie before struggling in his 2012 as guys like Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III dominated quarterback-of-the-future lists. Bottom line is Newton has to prove he can win. In his sophomore NFL season, his completion percentage, passing yards and TDs were down. But so were his interceptions, a good sign. Look for him to push his way back into the young QB discussion this season.
WEEK 7
OCT 21
AT

NY GIANTS

ESPN
7:40 PM
PREVIEW
The Giants, a season after winning the Super Bowl, stumbled to the finish and missed the playoffs at 9-7. David Wilson steps in as the No. 1 RB, and QB Eli Manning has strong targets in WRs Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.  Sack master Jason Pierre-Paul had back surgery; a successful defense could hinge on his recovery.
OPPOSING QB
Eli Manning has two Super Bowl Rings, so we know he's a winner. But his accuracy has fallen off; Manning's completion percentage has fallen in each of the past two seasons, last year falling under 60 percent. So consistency and accuracy is the key as he enters his 10th season. But Manning remains one of the NFL's elite QBs, having thrown for 86 TDs in his last three seasons.
WEEK 8
OCT 27
VS.

GREEN BAY

NBC
7:30 PM
PREVIEW
The Packers won the NFC North at 11-5 and QB Aaron Rodgers makes them the favorite again. A key to the offense might be the development of rookie RB Eddie Lacy and the health of the line. A defense led by LB Clay Matthews should be fine, despite the loss of veteran DB Charles Woodson.
OPPOSING QB
His numbers might not have been as absurd as they were in 2011, but Aaron Rodgers is still among the best. He has led the league in touchdown percentage the past two seasons, has an 84-to-14 TD-to-interception ratio in that time and has topped 4,000 passing yards in four of his last five seasons. The question is, can his line protect him?
WEEK 9
NOV 3
AT

DALLAS

FOX
NOON
PREVIEW
The Cowboys were 8-8, and haven’t made the playoffs since 2009. QB Tony Romo has strong receivers in WR Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten, but the offensive line is shaky. On defense, veteran Monte Kiffin takes over at coordinator and switches to a 4-3, meaning DeMarcus Ware will shift from LB to DE.
OPPOSING QB
Last season Tony Romo completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 4,903 yards and 28 touchdowns, and still failed to win over Dallas fans. Not making the playoffs can do that. Romo had offseason back surgery that kept him out of the team's offseason training. He will have plenty of targets to throw to, but might struggle behind the Cowboys' offensive line.
WEEK 10
NOV 7
VS.

WASHINGTON

NFLN
7:25 PM
PREVIEW
The Vikings might still have visions of RG3’s long TD run last year; QB Robert Griffin’s return from knee surgery is crucial to the Redskins’ hopes. RB Alfred Morris emerged as a star as well for a 10-6 team, but the Washington defense was 28th in the league and that’ll have to change.
OPPOSING QB
Assuming Robert Griffin III is healthy coming back from knee surgery, the Vikings will have their hands full. Griffin completed 17 of 22 passes for 182 yards and a score and ran 13 times for 138 yards and two more TDs against the Vikings last season. Minnesota did not have an answer for Griffin's quickness in Washington's read-option attack.
WEEK 11
NOV 17
AT

SEATTLE

FOX
3:25 PM
PREVIEW
The Seahawks are a trendy Super Bowl pick as the season begins after an 11-5 record. Will Percy Harvin (hip surgery) be ready by the time the Vikings play them? RB Marshawn Lynch and QB Russell Wilson fire up the offense, and CB Richard Sherman is one of the league’s best players and leads a great secondary.
OPPOSING QB
Russell Wilson is another dual threat QB who gave the Vikings fits last season. In a 30-20 loss in Seattle Wilson chewed up the Vikings defense, throwing for three scores. Wilson is efficient (64.1 percent completion rate), and he doesn't turn the ball over much (26 TDs to 10 interceptions). Percy Harvin (injured) surely would have accelerated Wilson's development.
WEEK 12
NOV 24
AT

GREEN BAY

FOX
NOON
PREVIEW
Perhaps Vikings fans are hoping they see new backup Vince Young under center by late November and perennial MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers nursing a (not super painful, of course) injury. This will be the second time in a month the Vikings and Packers go helmet-to-helmet, and potentially a critical division game.
OPPOSING QB
His numbers might not have been as absurd as they were in 2011, but Aaron Rodgers is still among the best. He has led the league in touchdown percentage the past two seasons, has an 84-to-14 TD-to-interception ratio in that time and has topped 4,000 passing yards in four of his last five seasons. The question is, can his line protect him?
WEEK 13
DEC 1
VS.

CHICAGO

FOX
NOON
PREVIEW
Trying to predict in the summer where the Bears will be in December is a lot like a game of blindfolded darts. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall might be putting up 35 points a game, or they could be chanting “Fi-re Trest-man” for hours on end at Soldier Field.
OPPOSING QB
Jay Cutler, in his fifth season with the Bears, is learning his fourth offense. This time it is head coach Marc Trestman's offense, a version of the traditional West Coast offense that stresses efficiency and a quick release. But Cutler has never had a passer rating higher than 88.1 as a full-time starter. In 2012 he completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 3,033 yards, but had 14 interceptions to go with 19 TD passes.
WEEK 14
DEC 8
AT

BALTIMORE

FOX
NOON
PREVIEW
The Ravens won the Super Bowl, but lost veteran defensive stars MLB Ray Lewis and S Ed Reed. QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice and Co. should still be efficient on offense. Remember, Baltimore was only 10-6 during the regular season, but got hot at the right time, a trend among recent Super Bowl winners.
OPPOSING QB
Joe Flacco's wonderful playoff run established him as a winner and took him all the way to bank with a big-bucks, long-term deal. So, the question: Is Flacco, whose numbers are nice, but not mind-blowing, set to push into elite QB status? Or will he struggle on a Ravens team not nearly as talented as the one that won the Super Bowl? Flacco will miss Anquan Boldin badly.
WEEK 15
DEC 15
VS.

PHILADELPHIA

FOX
NOON
PREVIEW
New coach Chip Kelly brings his high-octane style to the struggling Eagles.  QB Michael Vick seeks a revival behind a good line, with RB LeShon McCoy and WR DeSean Jackson in support. A revamped defense will switch to the 3-4, but must improve after Philly’s 4-12 debacle cost coach Andy Reid his job.
OPPOSING QB
Will a new coach and a new offense – he will longer be the square peg driven into the round hole that is the West Coast offense – mean a new professional life for Michael Vick? The Eagles and coach Chip Kelly better hope so. A paucity of receiving talent, though, will be a problem. And there's always the chance someone else will be taking snaps for the Eagles by mid-December.
WEEK 16
DEC 22
AT

CINCINNATI

FOX
NOON
PREVIEW
Two consecutive playoff seasons with QB Andy Dalton have created lots of optimism in Cincinnati, which was 10-6 last season. Look for rookie RB Giovani Bernard to add some zip to the offense that features WR A.J. Green.  LB James Harrison comes over from the Steelers but, at age 35, can he still dominate a game?
OPPOSING QB
After finishing the 2010 season 4-12, the Bengals have made the playoffs two straight years. A big reason: Andy Dalton. In two seasons Dalton has thrown for 7.067 yards, thrown 47 TDs and 29 interceptions. And now Dalton is becoming a leader of the team after becoming the only Bengals QB in history to make the playoffs in each of his first two seasons.
WEEK 17
DEC 29
VS.

DETROIT

FOX
NOON
PREVIEW
This is a season bookended by Lions games. Last season, the Vikings had to beat a division opponent at home to improbably make the playoffs (Vikings 37, Packers 34). It’s probably safe to say that Vikings fans right now would accept that same do-or-die scenario on the morning of Dec. 29, 2013.
OPPOSING QB
Matthew Stafford led the league in both attempts (727) and completions (435) in 2012, but his play didn't match the level of 2011, when he completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 5,048 yards, 41 TDs and 16 picks. In 2012 he completed less than 60 percent of his passes, had a 20-17 TD-to-interception ratio and the Lions took a huge step back. His passer rating of 79.8 was his lowest since his rookie season. Still, the Lions signed Stafford to a three-year, $53 million deal during the offseason.

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Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 101 FINAL
Orlando 94
Charlotte 109 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Brooklyn 91 FINAL
Cleveland 95
Washington 105 FINAL
Miami 103
Minnesota 98 FINAL
Boston 114
Toronto 110 FINAL
Detroit 100
Chicago 103 FINAL
Memphis 97
Portland 129 FINAL
San Antonio 119
LA Clippers 106 FINAL
Denver 109
Oklahoma City 104 FINAL
LA Lakers 103
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 3
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Ottawa 6
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Detroit 1
Boston 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Calgary 1
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 49 FINAL
Alabama 69
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 62 FINAL
Buffalo 88
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 58
North Florida 83 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 54 FINAL
Hampton 66
NC A&T 57 FINAL
Kent State 71
Central Penn College 65 FINAL
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 72 FINAL
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 47 FINAL
St Johns 53
Clemson 45 FINAL
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 58 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 46 FINAL
Mercer 67
Furman 78 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 83
South Dakota St 53 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 49
Milligan 53 FINAL
Lamar 80
LSU-Alexandria 71 FINAL
ULM 76
Southern Utah 57 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 73
Chattanooga 58 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 68
Seattle 57 FINAL
Minnesota 92
Lipscomb 55 FINAL
Princeton 77
Winthrop 71 FINAL
SE Louisiana 81
Dickinson State 48 FINAL
North Dakota 78
New Orleans 56 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
TX-Pan American 60 FINAL
Creighton 75
Colorado State 85 FINAL
Denver 84
Alabama A&M 49 FINAL
Marquette 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 51 FINAL
Texas Tech 72
Eastern Wash 67 FINAL
California 78
Idaho State 56 FINAL
Utah State 69
Arizona 60 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 55
Hawaii 94 FINAL
Chaminade 63
Nevada 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
UCLA 71 FINAL
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
St Marys-CA 49 FINAL
Virginia 62
McNeese State 55 FINAL
Rice 57
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
NJIT 62 FINAL
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Lafayette 58 FINAL
Stony Brook 60
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
Longwood 56 FINAL
Clemson 72
Savannah State 51 FINAL
Florida State 97
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
Davidson 66 FINAL
NC State 82
Northern Ky 63 FINAL
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 81 FINAL
Austin Peay 86
(25) DePaul 64 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 98
Ohio U 74 FINAL
La Salle 63
Florida Atlantic 60 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Miami-Florida 65 FINAL
Tulane 70
Miss Valley St 39 FINAL
Memphis 62
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
UAB 65
Bowling Green 58 FINAL
Illinois State 54
Arkansas State 78 FINAL
Missouri State 62
ULM 42 FINAL
Wichita State 57
(16) Oregon State 71 FINAL
Southern Ill 55
Pacific 67 FINAL
New Mexico St 62
No Dakota State 79 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 86
Utah State 92 FINAL
Sacramento St 102
Bethesda (CA) 61 FINAL
Fresno State 83
Utah Valley U 44 FINAL
Montana 68
LSU 78 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 45
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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