Chip Scoggins is a Star Tribune sports columnist. He has temporarily returned to cover the Minnesota Vikings. He had the beat from 2008-2011 after covering college football for five years. Chip has been with the Star Tribune since January 2000. He can be followed on twitter at @chipscoggins.Find Chip on Facebook.
Mark Craig has covered football and the NFL the past 20 years, including the Browns from 1991-95 and the Vikings and the NFL since 2003. Since 2008, Craig has served as one of the 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. He can be followed on Twitter at @markcraignfl.
The Vikings’ 2014 opponents are now set, and the team’s schedule will include a home game against New England and a road game at New Orleans.
The Vikings will play each team in its division, the NFC North, twice. They also face each team in the AFC East and the NFC South, and have games against the last-place teams in the NFC East (Washington) and the NFC West (St. Louis).
The games have been divided into road and home games.
Home: New England, N.Y. Jets, Atlanta, Carolina, Washington, Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago.
Road: Buffalo, Miami, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago.
Remember, home for the Vikings next season is TCF Bank Stadium.
The dates and times of the games will be announced in mid-April.
The Vikings might’ve found their quarterback this season. It only took 15 weeks, but Matt Cassel led a depleted squad in a 48-30 win over the Eagles at the Metrodome. They now move to 4-9-1 this year, while the Eagles fall to 8-6 with two games left.
Here’s five takeaways from Sunday’s game:
Washington has a 24-14 halftime lead over the Vikings at the Metrodome, scoring TDs on drives of 77, 78 and 80 yards.
The good: Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson caught his first NFL TD pass, a 2-yarder from Christian Ponder.
The bad: The Vikings were unable to slow down Robert Griffin III (three touchdown passes) or RB Alfred Morris (88 rushing yards).
The ugly: The Vikings are so banged-up that they weren’t able to find 46 healthy players to dress. They were one short.
Griffin is 16-for-21 for 179 yards and has a 140.7 passer rating. Ponder is 10 of 13 for 85 yards, but had an interception on the opening drive, leading to a Washington field goal.
Adrian Peterson has 44 rushing yards on seven carries, including an 18-yard TD run.
Quick postgame keys to the Vikings’ 34-27 victory over the Steelers at Wembley Stadium.
The Cassel effect. Backup Matt Cassel got the start at quarterback because of Christian Ponder’s rib injury and was efficient and turnover free (although he got lucky on a fumble). Greg Jennings was engaged for the first time this season, and scored two touchdowns off Cassel passes. And Adrian Peterson got some more room, and ran for 140 yards.
Scary defense. The Vikings defense did enough to win, but did anyone feel comfortable late as the Steelers seemed on the verge of a comeback? Only a big play by Everson Griffen, with a sack on the final stand, saved the day.
Just in time victory. Only one team has started 0-4 and made the playoffs, so this was a must-win for the Vikings.
It's worth noting that one of the first things Coach Leslie Frazier said after the game is Ponder is his starting quarterback. So ... let the QB controversy begin.
Here are the video highlights and final stats.
The Vikings have a bye this week before playing Carolina at home on Oct. 13.
Geji McKinney will be taking plenty of hot sauce and Southern spices. Dennis Ryan is packing up 20,000 pounds of equipment. Luther Hippe has ensured every player has a passport and that ESPN will be available in the hotel.
It’s taken tremendous effort for the Vikings to prepare for their home-away-from-home game in London on Sept. 29. Friday, several members of the team’s staff—including food service director McKinney, equipment manager Ryan and director of operations/team travel Hippe—discussed some of the groundwork behind the NFL International Series game against Pittsburgh at Wembley Stadium.
The object, they said, is to keep the game-week experience as similar as possible to the normal routine. McKinney will ensure their food tastes the same, while Ryan will see that everyone has their favorite items, right down to the proper brand of coffee. Some staff members already have inspected the facilities and said everything from the hotel to the practice field is top-notch.
“I got an opportunity to fly over there in March, and the reception we got was just incredible,’’ Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. “From the NFL and what they’ve put together, from the people of London and how supportive they were, from every venue we looked at, they just rolled out the red carpet. You can tell it’s a very important event.’’
The Vikings will take their entire staff, along with the cheerleaders and mascot. Because it is a home game, the team plans to turn Wembley into a transatlantic twin of the Metrodome, using the same banners, music and video they do at their usual home field.
Some of the special events revealed Friday include a fan rally on Regent Street, which corporate sales manager Tanya Dreesen said is expected to draw 600,000 people. There also will be a giant tailgate party at Wembley, and Gene Simmons of KISS will sing the American national anthem.
Several representatives of tourism and trade groups from Minnesota and the Twin Cities also will be on the trip, using it as a promotional opportunity.
Lester Bagley, the Vikings’ vice president of public affairs, said season-ticket holders are responding enthusiastically, and the team has sold more tickets than any other that has participated in the seven-year history of the event.
|Vikings (3544)||People (1)|
|AFC (86)||Bears (442)|
|Ex-Vikings (42)||Football on TV (52)|
|Lions (328)||NFC (1326)|
|NFL draft (232)||NFL post-season (28)|
|Packers (492)||Super Bowl (228)|
|Vikings coaches (66)||Vikings defense (253)|
|Vikings fans (114)||Vikings injury report (290)|
|Vikings management (28)||Vikings off the field (274)|
|Vikings offense (363)||Vikings quarterbacks (253)|
|Vikings road games (76)||Vikings rookies (33)|
|Vikings roster moves (40)||Vikings special teams (36)|
|Vikings training camp (132)||Injury report (342)|
|Off the field (128)||On the road (79)|
|Quarterbacks (297)||Rookies (76)|
|Roster moves (16)||Vikings draft (263)|
|Vikings trade talk (2)||Vikings players (799)|
|Adrian Peterson (927)||Anthony Herrera (161)|
|Antoine Winfield (409)||Ben Leber (97)|
|Bernard Berrian (213)||Bobby Wade (16)|
|Brad Childress (634)||Brett Favre (805)|
|Brian Robison (164)||Bryant McKinnie (106)|
|Cedric Griffin (194)||Chad Greenway (197)|
|Chester Taylor (79)||Chris Kluwe (109)|
|Darrell Bevell (111)||E.J. Henderson (183)|
|Heath Farwell (48)||Jared Allen (393)|
|John Sullivan (202)||Kevin Williams (220)|
|Leslie Frazier (904)||Madieu Williams (78)|
|Pat Williams (150)||Percy Harvin (668)|
|Phil Loadholt (162)||Ray Edwards (173)|
|Ryan Longwell (144)||Sage Rosenfels (102)|
|Sidney Rice (272)||Steve Hutchinson (190)|
|Tarvaris Jackson (169)||Tyrell Johnson (151)|
|Visanthe Shiancoe (216)||Brad Childress (638)|
|Darrell Bevell (112)||Leslie Frazier (913)|