After the Vikings beat the Saints with a walk-off touchdown in the playoffs for the second time in three years in January, their 2020 regular-season rematch in the Superdome seemed a good candidate for a marquee TV slot.
According to a league source, the Vikings and Saints will get their national audience — on Christmas Day.
The Vikings will travel to New Orleans for a Dec. 25 game against the Saints, playing on a Friday for just the fourth time in franchise history. It’s the Vikings’ first Friday game since their Week 16 NFC North title game on Christmas Eve 2004, when they lost 34-31 to the Packers in the Metrodome, and their first Christmas Day game since their 2005 loss to the Ravens.
The team will release its full 2020 schedule this evening, but a source also said reports of the Vikings playing at home on Thanksgiving night are incorrect. Still, the Saints game will give the Vikings another big audience on a holiday, after 2016 and 2017 games on Thanksgiving Day and prime-time games against the Packers two days before Christmas in 2017 and 2019.
The Saints matchup does mean, however, the Vikings could have to deal with one of coach Mike Zimmer’s pet peeves: a road game on a short week. They played on Thursday night at home in 2019, after playing a road Thursday game in each of Zimmer’s first five seasons as a head coach.
If the NFL gives the Vikings a Week 15 game on a Sunday, they’ll have to make a quick turnaround before what figures to be one of their tougher road matchups of the 2020 season. But when they go to New Orleans, they’ll get to renew what’s become an intriguing NFC rivalry in front of a big television audience.