Previewing The Vikings’ 2023 Opponents

The Minnesota Vikings’ opponents for the 2023 NFL season have been solidified. At 13-4, the Vikings won the NFC North in 2022 and will play a first-place schedule. In addition to their NFC North rivals, the Vikings will play the entire NFC South and AFC West divisions, and the first place teams from the following divisions: NFC West (home), NFC East (away), and AFC North (away).

Let’s take a look at what the 2023 Vikings opponent list has to offer.

NFC North rivals – The Vikings will have their standard home games against their divisional foes Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, and Green Bay Packers. The Vikings won all three in-division home games both last year and in 2021, and have not lost a home division game since December 2020 against the Bears.

New Orleans Saints – The Vikings will renew their long-standing rivalry with the Saints at home in 2023. This will be the Saints’ first trip to Minneapolis since 2018, when they took a 30-20 victory over the Vikings on Sunday Night Football. However, this team looks much different than the Sean Payton-Drew Brees squads that developed an intense rivalry with the Vikings during their time together.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – A former divisional foe from 1977-2001, the Buccaneers will be making their second trip to US Bank Stadium in 2023, having last played at the venue in 2017. That game resulted in a 34-17 victory for the Vikings during Case Keenum’s first start with the team. The real question is- will the Vikings face Tom Brady or somebody else in regards to the Bucs QB position?

San Francisco 49ers The 49ers won the NFC West in 2022, and one of the rewards for that is a road date with the Vikings in 2023. The last time that these two teams played in Minnesota, the Vikings forced Jimmy Garoppolo into three interceptions and came away with a 24-16 win that also served as Garoppolo’s first loss as an NFL starter. Given the 49ers roster and their level of talent overall, this is probably going to be the hardest non-division game on the Vikings’ schedule.

Kansas City Chiefs – It’s not gonna be fun playing Patrick Mahomes, but at least it will be in the comforts of home. Barring injury, this will be Mahomes’ first career game against the Vikings as he missed the 2019 meeting between these two teams due to injury. Along with the 49ers game, this is probably going to be the hardest game on the Vikings schedule next year.

Los Angeles Chargers Like Mahomes, it won’t be fun having to play Justin Herbert, but at least the game will be in Minnesota, a place where the Chargers have not won since 1993. Herbert has played the Vikings once in his career, a 2021 game in Los Angeles that saw Minnesota come away with a 27-20 win. This game could be a difficult one, but it depends on what Chargers team we get. If we get the good Chargers, it will be hard, but if we get the so-so Chargers, it will be easier.

NFC North rivals – The Vikings will have their standard away games against their divisional foes. The Vikings have struggled on the road against division rivals over the past two seasons, going 2-4 in that span, with the only two wins coming against the Bears.

Atlanta Falcons – The Vikings will make their second trip to Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium to take on the Falcons. The last time the two teams met in Atlanta was during the 2017 season, where a defensive contest yielded a 14-9 Vikings victory. This will be the Vikings’ first meeting against the Falcons that doesn’t involve Matt Ryan as the Falcons quarterback since 2007. Though a rebuilding team, the Falcons showed signs of promise in 2022 as a run-heavy team.

Carolina Panthers – The Vikings will make their second trip to Charlotte in the past three seasons, having snagged an overtime victory at Bank of America Stadium during the 2021 season. While the Panthers have a punishing running game and strong defense, this is still a team in flux as their coach and quarterback are currently unknown. This team is very similar to the one the Vikings beat during said 2021 season.

Philadelphia Eagles – All that needs to be said is that hopefully this game is not on Monday Night Football again. The Eagles’ Week 18 win over the Giants assured them the conference’s top seed and the NFC East crown, which will result in these two teams squaring off next season. Given how good the Eagles were this season, this is likely going to be the hardest inter-conference road game for the Vikings.

Denver Broncos – The last time these two teams met in Denver was in 2015, when a late Broncos strip-sack saw them come away with a 23-20 win. This could be seen as an easy game for the Vikings, but the Broncos could be much better than anticipated next year if they hire the right coach to turn around both quarterback Russell Wilson and the team as a whole.

Las Vegas Raiders – This will be the Vikings’ first trip in franchise history to Las Vegas. They could also be seeing a Raiders team that looks very different from the team we see now, as Derek Carr’s future with the team looks very bleak. It’s entirely possible that when these two teams meet next season, the Raiders are in a rebuilding phase.

Cincinnati Bengals – For their 17th game of the season, the Vikings get to make a trip to Cincinnati to face Joe Burrow and the Bengals. When these two teams met in 2021’s opening week, many Vikings fans expected an easy win over a seemingly rebuilding Bengals franchise, but were shocked by Burrow and Co., as they came away with a 27-24 overtime win. Since that win, Cincinnati has gone 21-11 (excluding the Vikings game), won two AFC North division titles, and made an unexpected appearance in Super Bowl LVI.

The full times and dates for these games will be announced sometime this spring. Which 2023 opponent will be the hardest for the Vikings? We would love it if you commented your thoughts below.
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