In this space around a year ago I predicted, a bit pessimistically, a 4-12 regular season record for the Minnesota Vikings. Of course my prediction looked bad fairly quickly when the Vikings got off to a 4-1 start, and even worse when they won their final four games to finish 10-6 and earn a playoff spot.
But I’m back in the prediction business this year, and without further ado here is my week-by-week rundown of Minnesota’s 2013 schedule, with a prediction for each game.
Week 1- @ Detroit Lions
The Vikings have long handled the Lions well regardless of venue, but the “Motor City Kitties” should be plenty motivated coming off a 4-12 campaign in 2012. Minnesota’s young secondary will get a significant test right out of the gate.
Predicition: Lions 28, Vikings 20
Week 2- @ Chicago Bears
Minnesota has not won at Soldier Field since 2007, otherwise known as Adrian Peterson’s rookie year. Things will not be any easier this year, despite some notable offseason changes for the Bears that may not be hitting on all cylinders early.
Prediction: Bears 21, Vikings 13
Week 3- vs. Cleveland Browns
The Browns have a new head coach and offensive coordinator, but the Vikings simply have more talent on their roster. A win in the home opener could get things back on track.
Prediction: Vikings 24, Browns 16
Week 4- vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
This counts as a home game for the Vikings, but if Steelers’ fans travel to London as well as they do stateside it may feel like a road contest fairly quickly.
Prediction: Steelers 17, Vikings 14
Week 5- Bye
Week 6- vs. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers will be a tough challenge, but playing them at home gives the Vikings an advantage.
Prediction: Vikings 24, Panthers 20
Week 7- @ New York Giants (Monday Night)
The Giants have the wide receiver depth to challenge Minnesota’s secondary depth if things aren’t sorted out by this point, so if the defensive line struggles to put heat on quarterback Eli Manning things could get ugly quickly.
Prediction: Giants 31, Vikings 21
Week 8- vs. Green Bay Packers (Sunday Night)
The Vikings will play on national television for a second straight week, this time with a chance to avenge last year’s playoff loss. The Packers have been hit by injuries during the preseason, but as long as quarterback Aaron Rodgers is on the field they have the advantage here.
Prediction: Packers 27, Vikings 17
Week 9- @ Dallas Cowboys
Playing on the road against another NFC East team will be a tough challenge for the Vikings, and if this game evolves into a shootout they may struggle to keep pace.
Prediction: Cowboys 24, Vikings 20
Week 10- vs. Washington Redskins (Thursday Night)
The Vikings struggled to keep the running of quarterback Robert Griffin III in check on the road in 2012, and as long as the second-year signal caller is on the field for this game he will again present a big challenge.
Prediction: Vikings 24, Redskins 23
Week 11- @ Seattle Seahawks
The Vikings lost to Seattle on the road at a similar point in the schedule last season, and they routinely do not play well in Seattle. I don’t see things changing dramatically this year.
Prediction: Seahawks 28, Vikings 17
Week 12- @ Green Bay
An outdoor game in late November against a division rival. This sure doesn’t look like a sure-fire win for the Vikings.
Prediction: Packers 23, Vikings 20
Week 13- vs. Chicago
The Vikings beat the Bears at home late last season during their push for a playoff spot, and they could do so again this year if things have gone off the rails for Chicago in Marc Trestman’s first year as head coach.
Prediction: Vikings 21, Bears 17
Week 14- @ Baltimore Ravens
A road game against the defending Super Bowl champions, even at this late stage of the season, will be a big challenge for Minnesota.
Prediction: Ravens 24, Vikings 16
Week 15- vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Playing the Eagles this late in the season increases the odds quarterback Michael Vick will be injured, and Nick Foles has to be considered a downgrade in talent.
Prediction: Vikings 28, Eagles 21
Week 16- @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are a darkhorse Super Bowl pick right now, but it remains to be seen if that will still be the case by Week 16. Still, the Vikings don’t do well outdoors and Cincinnati has superior talent virtually everywhere on the field.
Prediction: Bengals 24, Vikings 13
Week 17- vs. Detroit
The Vikings may have an opportunity to take a game from the Lions if they are checked out at the end of another dismal season.
Prediction: Vikings 21, Lions 14
Final Record: 6-10
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.