Vikings to open preseason at Tennessee, host Dallas and Houston
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Football will return to the Metrodome on or around Aug. 27.
That is, if the Metrodome's roof is replaced in time. And if the NFL lockout is resolved.
The league unveiled the full list of preseason matchups on Tuesday afternoon. The Vikings are scheduled to open at Tennessee (Week 1, Aug. 11 to 15) and Seattle (Week 2, Aug. 18 to 22) before home games against the Dallas Cowboys (Week 3, Aug. 25 to 28) and Houston Texans (Week 4, Sept. 1 and 2).
None of the Vikings' preseason games will be nationally televised, so exact dates and kickoff times were not revealed. The NFL initially announced dates for the Vikings' games -- Saturdays Aug. 13, 20 and 27, and Thursday, Sept. 1 -- before removing them from the league's Web site, likely because they're tentative.
Scheduling home games in the final two weeks of the preseason maximizes time available for completion of work on the Metrodome, which was damaged in a snowstorm last December. The project is scheduled to be completed in early August.
However, Vikings executive Lester Bagley recently told ProFootballTalk.com teams were so wary of scheduling games in the Metrodome the NFL had to help find an opponent for the finale, which normally is the host team's responsibility.
Then there is the matter of the lockout, which has representatives for the league and the decertified players' association in court-ordered mediation this week. If preseason games are wiped out, it seems unlikely they'd be rescheduled.
Under the expired collective-bargaining agreement, teams could open training camp no more than 15 days before their first exhibition game, which for the Vikings would fall on (or around) Saturday, Aug. 30.
The league is expected to release the regular-season schedule later this month.
2011 Vikings preseason schedule
Week 1 (Aug. 11 to 15): at Tennessee.
Week 2 (Aug. 18 to 22): at Seattle.
Week 3 (Aug. 25 to 28): vs. Dallas.
Week 4 (Sept. 1 or 2): vs. Houston.