Minnesota Vikings 2022 schedule: Will new coach Kevin O'Connell spark the Vikes to a fast start?

Kirk Cousins had a solid year statistically last season, but he needs to lead the team to the playoffs to achieve his goals. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

EAGAN, Minn -- The Minnesota Vikings' 2022 schedule was released along with the rest of the NFL slate Thursday.

The season will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 8 with the Los Angeles Rams hosting the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium. ESPN opens its schedule with Monday Night Football on Sept. 12, featuring the Denver Broncos at the Seattle Seahawks.

The NFL expanded to 17 regular-season games last season. The final regular-season games in 2022 will be played Jan. 8, 2023. The playoffs begin Jan. 14, and continue through Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12, in Glendale, Arizona.

Here's what in store for the Vikings:


Sept. 11: vs. Packers

Sept. 19: at Eagles (MNF)

Sept. 25: vs. Lions

Oct. 2: vs. Saints (London)

Oct. 9: vs. Bears

Oct. 16: at Dolphins

Oct. 23: Bye

Oct. 30: vs. Cardinals

Nov. 6: at Commanders

Nov. 13: at Bills

Nov. 20: vs. Cowboys

Nov. 24: vs. Patriots (TNF)

Dec. 4: vs. Jets

Dec. 11: at Lions

Dec. 17 or 18: vs. Colts

Dec. 24: vs. Giants

Jan. 1: at Packers

Jan. 7 or 8: at Bears

Strength of schedule: No. 20, .484

Biggest takeaway

The energy of a new coach can sometimes spark a team to a fast start. We shouldn't rule out that possibility for Kevin O'Connell. But he'll face an uphill battle with a Week 1 game against the defending NFC North champion Green Bay Packers, followed by a Monday night game at Philadelphia and a trip to London in Week 4. If they start slowly, however, the Vikings will have a pretty nice runway at the end of the season if they need to rack up some wins en route to the playoffs. Only one of their final six games will come against a 2021 playoff team: Week 17 against the Packers. Obviously teams can rise and fall abruptly from one season to the next, but the Vikings should benefit from a late stretch with home games against the Jets, Colts and Giants, along with road games against the Lions and Bears.

Revenge game

Week 12 against the Patriots. The Vikings have lost five consecutive games in this series, and it has been 25 years since they've defeated the Patriots in Minnesota. O'Connell will have this game circled on his calendar. The Patriots drafted O'Connell in 2008, but he lasted only one season as a backup quarterback before getting waived -- and he has already starred in one manufactured revenge scenario. The Jets signed him during the 2009 season, presumably for emergency insurance, but they reportedly wanted to download whatever information he could provide on the Patriots' playbook. In turn, they made O'Connell a captain for both games against the Patriots.

What the oddsmakers think

The over/under is 9. Take the over. The Vikings' roster has a higher floor than most teams that hire a new coach. It's talented and has averaged nine wins per year over the past nine seasons. With a fresh coat of paint on the offense and defense, and a weakened NFC overall, this team should win at least 10 games.

Bold prediction

The Vikings are making the playoffs in O'Connell's first season. They won't beat out the Packers for the NFC North title, but O'Connell has inherited a talented offense and will bring with him a scheme that helped win Super Bowl LVI when he was the Rams' offensive coordinator.