Dan Wiederer began covering the Vikings in 2011, enthusiastically delivering insight on the team across the Star Tribune's print and digital products. Prior to joining the Access Vikings team, he spent seven seasons covering ACC basketball at The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer. He also covered the Chicago Bears in 2003 and 2004. Follow him on Twitter @StribDW.
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 preseason schedule includes games at the Metrodome against Houston and Tennessee, and a nationally televised game at San Francisco.
Exact dates and times for three of the games will be released at a later date, but the opponents were announced today by the NFL.
The only date set is the game against the 49ers, which will be Sunday, Aug. 25. That contest will be televised by NBC (Ch. 11) at 7 p.m.
The game against Houston at the Metrodome will be either Aug. 8, 9 or 10; the following week the Vikings will play at Buffalo on either Aug. 15, 16 or 17; and they will close out the preseason at the Metrodome against Tennessee on either Aug. 29 or 30.
The Vikings played Houston and San Francisco last year in both the preseason and the regular season.
The Texans and 49ers won the preseason contests by scores of 28-24 and 17-6, respectively. But the Vikings bounced back to defeat both teams during the regular season, delivering convincing defeats. They beat San Francisco 24-13 in Week 3 and hammered Houston 23-6 13 weeks later.
The Vikings will play the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley Stadium in London on Sept. 29, 2013, the NFL announced today.
The game would count as a Vikings home game.
Here is the Vikings' release:
As part of the NFL’s International Series, the Minnesota Vikings have been selected to host the Pittsburgh Steelers at London’s Wembley Stadium on September 29, 2013.
Announced during NFL owners’ meetings today, the Vikings-Steelers matchup will be the seventh game in the NFL’s London International Series and the first in the league’s historic step to play two international games during the 2013 season. The Jacksonville Jaguars will also host the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium on October 27, 2013.
“This is a unique opportunity for the Vikings organization to highlight our brand on an international level,” said Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf. “Playing in London provides exceptional exposure to the team, as well as Minnesota’s impressive business community and tourism industry. We are honored to represent the NFL on a global level, and we look forward to playing in front of our international fan base.”
With a 5:00 p.m. UK kickoff (Noon CT), the Sunday game will be the Vikings first regular season matchup in London and the team’s first appearance in the UK in over 30 years. The Vikings previous trip to London was a preseason game against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 6, 1983, a game the Vikings won 28-10. Since the Vikings inception in 1961, the team has played four international games, all exhibition matches and all Vikings wins. The team’s last trip abroad was in 1994, a 17-9 exhibition victory over Kansas City in Tokyo.
“This is a great chance to leverage the popularity of the NFL and the Vikings to promote our region as one of the best in the world for business,” said Greater MSP CEO Michael Langley. “Our mission is to promote the Minneapolis-St. Paul region globally, to attract new investment and jobs. We can use the Vikings International Series game as an opportunity to build our region’s brand and to meet with global investors and decision-makers to sell our region and state.”
“At Meet Minneapolis, we are constantly focused on highlighting Minneapolis as a tourism, event and travel destination,” said Meet Minneapolis CEO Melvin Tennant. “With a new stadium opening in 2016, a Vikings game in London will provide a great opportunity to introduce a global audience to this market and encourage international events to consider Minneapolis, City by Nature.”
MINNESOTA VIKINGS INTERNATIONAL GAMES
Year Location Opponent Result
1983........................... London......... St. Louis Cardinals........... W 28-10
1984........... Goteburg, Sweden............... Chicago Bears........... W 28-21
1993.............................. Berlin.................. Buffalo Bills............. W 20-6
1994............................. Tokyo........ Kansas City Chiefs............. W 17-9
INDIANAPOLIS - Maybe this is where the projected Hall of Fame journey gathers momentum — in the final minute of a tie game with the No. 1 pick of the 2012 draft doing what the Colts expect him to do for a decade or longer.
Game-winning drive? Hey, Andrew Luck just wanted to give it a try, handling the moment with such tranquility you’d have thought he was out walking his dog.
Luck sure didn’t seem fazed by the pressure. Not the figurative kind that had heightened after Indianapolis blew a 20-6 lead in the final 10 minutes Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. And not the literal kind either, the heat coming from the Vikings’ defense as they tried to steal yet another improbable victory.
Instead, in the final half-minute, Luck delivered two consecutive 20-yard completions to Donnie Avery and Reggie Wayne. Just like that, in 19 seconds, Luck propelled Indianapolis from its own 20 into position for Adam Vinatieri to kick his game-winning 53-yard field goal.
Final score: Colts 23, Vikings 20.
This is the easy story, the one about the promising rookie who stepped up in the clutch and made sure his encouraging afternoon didn’t sour.
“He doesn’t get rattled,” said his coach Chuck Pagano. “He sees the field. He understands the offense extremely well. He knows exactly what he’s getting because he puts the time in … There’s no panic to the kid.”
Yes, Luck showed all sorts of calm, savvy and athleticism, especially on his first throw of that final drive when he spun, rolled left and put a dart into Avery’s sternum. But to truly understand how Luck recorded his first NFL victory, it’s only proper to contextualize the day by documenting all the costly mistakes the Vikings made, a grab bag of blunders so deep that the classroom sessions at Winter Park promise to be intense this week.
Above all else, there were those 11 penalties committed by nine different Vikings for 105 yards.
Few proved more costly than the 15-yarders committed by Andrew Sendejo and Jared Allen in the third quarter, gifts which allowed the Colts to prolong a 14-play field goal drive. That produced a 20-6 Indianapolis lead.
Sendejo was flagged for roughing Colts punter Pat McAfee, even though replays show the contact may have been minimal or non-existent.
Three plays later, Allen dived and tackled Luck as he crossed the sideline on a meaningless 1-yard run on third-and-16.
“I still don’t think it’s a penalty,” Allen said. “They can say what they want … I didn’t even hit him with my shoulder pads. I hit him with my arm. This is football I thought.”
Three times Sunday, the Colts put together scoring drives of nine plays or longer, including a 13-play, 80-yard stampede on their opening drive. There was also the touchdown they scored with 7 seconds before halftime when, on third-and-3, Wayne easily steered through the Vikings’ Cover 2 zone to snag a 30-yard touchdown pass.
The postgame fingers pointed at linebacker Erin Henderson for failing to drop deep enough in the coverage.
“That’s something we’ve talked about and something we’ve worked on,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier explained. “We put him in that spot, and we’ve just got to execute our assignments. We didn’t on that play.”
But expecting Henderson to hang with Wayne by himself is risky business. Plus, the Colts might never have had the ball for that score if Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder had not badly missed on a third-and-6 throw to a wide-open Percy Harvin on the previous series.
Yep, the Vikings were left to recap Sunday’s failure with so many of the neatly packaged explanations they ran into the ground a year ago.
“We did some things today that really hurt us, where we hurt ourselves,” Frazier said.
“That’s the NFL,” cornerback Antoine Winfield added. “Like last year, we lost a lot of close games. We have to tighten it up.”
Sure, there were a few bright signs. Harvin, for example, delivered 12 catches for 104 yards. Ponder (27-for-35, 245 yards, two TDs) also hung tough, producing two fourth-quarter touchdown drives that again displayed his ability to rally after adversity.
If you’re big on silver linings, maybe that was encouraging.
“I’m not into silver linings,” Allen said. “It’s like taking your sister to the prom. We have to win football games. It doesn’t matter how you win them, where you win 'em, we’ve got to win. And this is a game we should have won.”
The Vikings' preseason opponents were announced earlier this month, and the times and dates for the games were firmed up today.
The Vikings will play at San Francisco on Friday, Aug. 10 at 8 p.m. (Central time).
Back-to-back home games follow against Buffalo (7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17) and San Diego (7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 24).
The preseason ends with a Thursday night game at Houston on Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. Central time.
The regular season schedule's dates and times will be announced on Tuesday night. The team will have home and away games with Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago. It will have road games at Seattle, St. Louis, Washington, Houston, Indianapolis and home games with Tampa Bay, Arizona, San Francisco, Tennessee and Jacksonville.
Vikings cornerback Chris Cook has gotten breaks before and people still believe in him ... in this Sunday story.
Mark notes the Packers face long odds to go unbeaten in his Sunday column.
Reusse found a faraway fan who was right a couple of years ago.
And Sid, as always, got Ryan Longwell's view of the Packers-Vikings rivalry, talking about the quarterbacks.
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