Vikings Face Brutal Early Schedule, But Must Beat Giants In 2024 Opener


Vikings Face Brutal Early Schedule, But Must Beat Giants In 2024 Opener


Times have changed dramatically for the Minnesota Vikings. As the offseason reaches the OTA phase, many of the preseason assessments are trickling in. The news does not appear to be good for the purple, as a large number of these early predictions have the Vikings in last place in the NFC North.


That’s what happens when a team loses its starting quarterback to free agency and its best pass rusher in the same manner. Perhaps the drafting of J.J. McCarthy and the decision to let Kirk Cousins move on to the Atlanta Falcons will become a net gain for the Vikings. Danielle Hunter took his 16.5 sacks to the Houston Texans, but the Vikings signed Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel and Blake Cashman to potentially make up for the loss.



General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has put this team together and now it’s up to head coach Kevin O’Connell and his staff to mold a team that does not finish in last place in the NFC North


The schedule makers have not done the team any favors with the way the 2024 season will play out. All teams want to get off to the kind of positive start that builds confidence in the locker room and the fan base, but that may be a very difficult commodity to find at U.S. Bank Stadium.


In Weeks 2, 3 and 4, the Vikings will face the San Francisco 49ers at home, host the surging Houston Texans and take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. All of those games will be major challenges, but the key for the Vikings will come in the season opener.



They are facing the New York Giants on the road, and this is a significant game for a number of reasons. The Giants and Vikings are both coming off disappointing seasons. The Vikings were 7-10 a year ago and tied the Chicago Bears for third place in the NFC North. The Giants were even worse at 6-11, and the only thing that kept them out of last place in the NFC East was the brutal play of the Washington Commanders.


What makes this game compelling is that both teams were playoff teams the year before. The Vikings were NFC North champions and hosted the Wild Card Giants in the playoffs. Instead of surviving and advancing, the Vikings were defensive no shows and made Giants quarterback Daniel Jones look like an All-Pro.


The same Daniel Jones that the Giants wanted to replace on Draft Day by making a trade with the New England Patriots for the No. 3 pick. The Giants – just like the Vikings – wanted to select Drake Maye of North Carolina. Ultimately, Patriots draft boss Eliot Wolf either froze at the switch or decided he wanted the quarterback for himself and no deal was made.



The Vikings had put together a relatively strong season in 2022, their first year with Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell at the helm. The loss to the Giants meant the year ended with a bad taste for everyone associated with the team.


The Vikings are clearly a much different team two years later and one that is likely to go through growing pains. But their defense is much better under coordinator Brian Flores than it was in that brutal 31-24 loss, and they are going to need that defense to step up and provide a solid effort against the Giants.



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Minnesota’s defense improved quite a bit last year, going from 31st in the league in 2022 to 16th last year, and if the Vikings are going to exceed predictions, the defense is going to have to set the tone early on in the season.


If the Vikings can win the opener, it will set a positive tone for the challenging games that follow. Perhaps an upset or two may result. But if they lose to the Giants, an 0-4 start may be looming.

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