When the Vikings made their move to TCF Bank Stadium official, there were a number of scheduling requests the University of Minnesota asked the NFL and the Vikings in their facility use agreement. Only one of the restrictions was mandatory, but the Vikings schedule this season will minimize any potential conflicts.
The Vikings schedule pretty much accommodated every request in the agreement. It’s pretty impressive (and surprising) the NFL did when it has 31 other teams to consider, and it’ll make for a better experience -- for fans, the Vikings and the university – in the team’s first year at TCF Bank Stadium.
"We are pleased that the Vikings and the NFL did their best to construct a schedule within the spirit of our agreement," Gophers senior associate athletic director Chris Werle said in a statement. "It’s our goal to make the transition as seemless as possible while we host the Vikings for the next two years. Having the football teams play on the same weekend only once during the first season will certainly help alleviate strains on the nearby neighborhoods, traffic, support staff and campus grounds."
Per the agreement:
* The Vikings could use TCF Bank Stadium for one weeknight game when classes weren’t in session (on a date coordinated and approved by the school).
The one weeknight game was the only restriction the NFL and the Vikings had. The Vikings have their mandatory Thursday night game on the road against the Packers in Week 5.
* The Vikings “shall make best efforts” with the NFL to avoid schedule conflicts with the school’s academic calendar. Some of the events included move-in (Aug. 15, 25-26, 30), Welcome Week (Aug. 27-Sept 1) and Finals (Dec. 12-18).
The Vikings host their final preseason game on Aug. 16 against the Cardinals. Their home opener isn’t until Sept. 14 against the Patriots, and they’re on the road for the only game on Finals week (Dec. 14 at Detroit).
*The Vikings “shall make best efforts” with the NFL to avoid scheduling games during the Minnesota State Fair and on Gophers football home games.
The Vikings are on the road for their final preseason game (Aug 28 at Tennessee), which is the only game during the Minnesota State Fair (Aug. 21-Sept. 1).
The next suggestion is a bit more challenging, but there’s surprisingly only one weekend that both the Gophers and Vikings play at home. The Gophers host Northwestern on Oct. 11 when the Vikings host the Lions on Oct. 12.
* “The Vikings’ coordination efforts with the NFL shall also include best efforts to accommodate University’s reservation of 2 Sundays in November and 2 Sunday’s in December for University home basketball games.”
The Vikings have a bye week on Nov. 9, then a road game at Chicago on Nov. 16. In December, the Vikings have back-to-back road games against the Lions on Dec. 14 and the Dolphins on Dec. 21.