2012 schedule released: Vikings won't be prime-time players
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Coming off a 3-13 season, the Minnesota Vikings will have plenty of noon kickoffs in 2012.
The team learned when it would face its already-determined opponents on Tuesday evening and the only prime-time game will be on Thursday night, Oct. 25 against Tampa Bay at the Metrodome. That will be aired on NFL Network.
It will be the Vikings' first appearance on NFL Network since the 2006 season, when they played a Thursday night game at Green Bay late in the year.
The Vikings will have two 3:15 p.m. kickoffs and everything else is slated for noon. In fairness, it should be pointed out that flexible scheduling does kick in for the final seven weeks of the regular season, meaning the Vikings could see games moved to Sunday nights on NBC if they surprise.
Coach Leslie Frazier's team will open the season on Sept. 9 against Jacksonville at the Metrodome. The Vikings haven't opened at home since the 2007 season when they beat Atlanta, 24-3.
The Vikings will play four of their final six games on the road and won't face NFC North rivals Chicago or Green Bay until the final six weeks of the season.
It will mark the first time in franchise history that the Vikings will play all four games against the Packers and Bears in the final six weeks. The Vikings and Packers have never before played twice in December in their 102-game history.
Those late-season division games mean the Vikings have only one game against an NFC North foe in the first nine weeks. That will come on Sept. 30 at Detroit.
The Vikings also will have a late bye week. The team will be off on Nov. 18. That is the last weekend during which any teams will be idle and is the Vikings' latest bye week since 1999.
Here's the complete schedule:
Sunday, Sept. 9: vs. Jacksonville, noon, CBS
Sunday, Sept. 16: at Indianapolis, noon, Fox
Sunday, Sept. 23: vs. San Francisco, noon, Fox
Sunday, Sept. 30: at Detroit, noon, Fox
Sunday, Oct. 7: vs. Tennessee, noon, CBS
Sunday, Oct. 14: at Washington, 3:15 p.m., Fox
Sunday, Oct. 21: vs. Arizona, noon, Fox
Thursday, Oct. 25: vs. Tampa Bay, 7:20 p.m., NFL Network
Sunday, Nov. 4: at Seattle, 3:15 p.m., Fox
Sunday, Nov. 11: vs. Detroit, noon, Fox
Sunday, Nov. 18: Bye
Sunday, Nov. 25: at Chicago, noon, Fox
Sunday, Dec. 2: at Green Bay, noon, Fox
Sunday, Dec. 9: vs. Chicago, noon, Fox
Sunday, Dec. 16: at St. Louis, noon, Fox
Sunday, Dec. 23: at Houston, noon, Fox
Sunday, Dec. 30: vs. Green Bay, noon, Fox