Minnesota Vikings’ 2021 opponents and strength of schedule

Who are the Minnesota Vikings’ 2021 NFL opponents as they look to bounce back from a disappointing performance in the 2020 season? Let’s look at who the Vikings will play in 2021, and what that means in terms of their strength of schedule ranking compared to their rivals.

Who do the Vikings play in 2021?

The Vikings’ list of 2021 opponents will see them play the regular six games against the NFC North: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, and Green Bay Packers. As is customary, the Lions will face each of those three teams both at home and on the road during the 2021 season.

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The 2021 season will also see the NFC North compete against the NFC West and AFC North for another eight games. Finally, the remaining two games on the traditional 16-game schedule will see the Vikings face the two teams that finished in third place of the NFC East (Dallas Cowboys) and NFC South (Carolina Panthers).

What about the Vikings’ 17th game in 2021?

The 2021 season is expected to introduce a 17th regular season game for all NFL teams. Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport reported on NFL.com that plans are in place to expand the regular season, although their report has yet to be officially confirmed by the NFL. Therefore, who would be the opponent for the Vikings’ 17th game in the 2021 season?

Reports suggest that a decision has been made on how the 17th game opponent will be decided. The matchup will be an interconference matchup based on standings on a rotational basis.

Albert Breer reports that the divisional alignments for the 2021 season had already been set. According to Breer, the NFC North will face the AFC West for the 17th game. Therefore, the Vikings’ opponent for their 17th game in 2021 would be the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Minnesota Vikings’ 2021 opponents

Here are the teams that the Minnesota Vikings will play against in the 2021 NFL season:

Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys

Road: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers

17th game (location TBD): Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings’ strength of schedule for 2021

As we look ahead towards the 2021 NFL season, how does the Vikings’ strength of schedule for 2021 shape up? The strength of schedule rankings are based on the 2020 records of the Vikings’ 2021 opponents.

The Vikings have one of the toughest schedules in 2021

The Vikings’ 2021 strength of schedule ranks as the sixth-toughest in the league. They have the third-toughest schedule in the NFC and the NFC North — the Bears and Packers are the only NFC teams with a more difficult schedule. On average, the Vikings’ 2021 opponents won 8.5 games in the 2020 season.

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The AFC North’s presence on the Vikings’ schedule is a big part of why their schedule ranks so tough. The Ravens, Browns, and Steelers combined to win 34 of their 48 games. Additionally, the four teams in the NFC West averaged nine wins per team.

In total, the Vikings will play nine games against teams that made the playoffs in 2020. However, the remaining eight games in 2021 will see the Vikings play games against opponents who averaged 5.8 wins in 2020.

How does their schedule at home compare to their schedule on the road?

The Vikings’ 2021 schedule sees a wide split in their opponents in terms of home and road. Six of the Vikings’ home games at U.S. Bank Stadium in 2021 see them facing opponents who made the playoffs in 2020. Therefore, their home schedule ranks as the second-toughest in the entire league. In contrast, the Vikings will face just three teams who made the playoffs last season on the road.

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Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor at Pro Football Network and is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN.