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NFL Minnesota Vikings

5 Games That Will Define Minnesota Vikings’ Season In 2014

Minnesota Vikings 2014 Schedule: 5 Games That Will Define Season

Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL regular season is just over two weeks away, and teams are beginning to look forward to the first official game on their schedules. While all games during the regular season are critical, some seemingly matter more than others. If the Minnesota Vikings are going to shock the world and contend for a division championship this season, finding a way to win the following five games would be a great start.

5. Week 1 at St. Louis Rams

Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

5. Week 1 at St. Louis Rams

Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings open their season with tough matchups against the New England Patriots in Week 2 and at the New Orleans Saints in Week 3. If the Vikings were to lose their opener against the Rams, it is a very real possibility that the team starts the year 0-3. Statistics show that very few teams qualify for the playoffs after beginning the season with three consecutive losses.

4. Week 5 at Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings Green Bay Packers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

4. Week 5 at Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings Green Bay Packers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

No matter the stakes, every Vikings matchup against the Packers matters. With that said, an early season win at Lambeau field would be a humongous confidence booster. As mentioned before, the Vikings begin the season with multiple difficult matchups which makes getting a win in this specific game even more critical. A loss here following a slow start out of the gate could put an end to the Vikings' playoff hopes early.

3. Week 9 vs. Washington Redskins

Matt Cassel Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

3. Week 9 vs. Washington Redskins

Matt Cassel Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Based on team records in 2013, the Vikings' mid-season matchup against the Redskins is the easiest game on their schedule. While the Redskins did make improvements this offseason and QB Robert Griffin III is expected to be fully healthy, this is still a very winnable game for the Vikings at home. Winning games at home and against beatable teams is crucial to contending for a spot in the playoffs.

2. Week 12 vs. Green Bay Packers

Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

2. Week 12 vs. Green Bay Packers

Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Assuming the Vikings get off to a strong start this season, this Week 12 matchup against the Packers at TCF Bank Stadium could be a make-or-break game. The NFC North is filled with contenders, which makes every divisional matchup critical. Winning at home against the favorite to win the division late in the season would be a strong step forward towards qualifying for the playoffs.

1. Week 17 vs. Chicago Bears

Alshon Jeffery Chicago Bears
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

1. Week 17 vs. Chicago Bears

Alshon Jeffery Chicago Bears
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to the previous matchup, this assumes the Vikings are still in playoff contention very late into the season. The NFC North is expected to be very competitive, which means it likely will come down to the final game of the season. When the Vikings were dark horse contenders in 2012 their season came down to a divisional matchup in Week 17, and likely will again, assuming the team is on the cusp of double-digit wins at this point.

Robert Reidell is a Minnesota Vikings Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+