Minnesota Vikings Get an Earlier Trip to SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles
The NFL has officially switched to a 17-game schedule. With the change, the Minnesota Vikings will get to see a new stadium much earlier than previously scheduled.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported and confirmed that the NFL made the switch to a 17-game schedule. The extra game would go into the regular schedule rotation with the AFC and NFC switching home games each year. The AFC will host the extra game in 2021 with the NFC set to host in 2022.
The opponents will be determined based on division standings from the year before, much like the "common opponents" scheduling method for intraconference games. The new NFL 17-game schedule rotation will be as followed:
- Six games against division opponents (Ex: NFC North vs. NFC North)
- Four games against intraconference division (Ex: NFC North vs. NFC West in 2021)
- Four games against interconference division (Ex: NFC North vs. AFC North in 2021)
- Two "Common Opponent" intraconference games (Ex: NFC North/NFC East/NFC South. 3rd Place Vikings host 3rd place NFC East Cowboys and travel to 3rd place NFC South Panthers.
- One AFC opponent interconference game (Ex: NFC North vs. AFC West 2021)
NFC North opponents will travel to AFC West teams to get the 17th game. Division winners Green Bay and Kansas City will play at Arrowhead Stadium. Chicago and Las Vegas will meet at Allegiant Stadium. Minnesota will go to Los Angeles to play the Chargers, and Detroit will play at Denver.
Minnesota will make a trip to the new SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles for the first time. The Vikings last played the Chargers in 2019 in Los Angeles at Dignity Health Sports Park and, under the 16-game format, were not scheduled to return to Los Angeles to play the Chargers until 2027.
With the Chargers and Rams playing at SoFi Stadium, the earliest the Vikings would have traveled to Los Angeles to play the Rams would have been 2024 prior to the switch to 17-games. Minnesota is scheduled to host the Rams in 2021 and then will host a common opponent from the NFC West in 2022 and 2023.
Under the 16-game schedule, the earliest the Vikings could have possibly played at SoFi Stadium would have been for Super Bowl LVI in February of 2022.
Based on the new 17th game rotation (and assuming the NFL will keep the two-year difference in interconference matchups), the NFC North would host teams from the AFC South in 2022 to complete the first cycle.