Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Strength of schedule: Minnesota Vikings
By Ben Goessling
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings, who didn't win a road game at all in 2013, will have a favorable slate of road games in which to reverse that trend in 2014.
The Vikings have the league's ninth-easiest schedule away from home next season, with trips to Tampa Bay, Buffalo, St. Louis, Miami and New Orleans joining their traditional slate of division games. The Saints and Green Bay Packers are the only playoff teams the Vikings play on the road next season.
Overall, the Vikings have the league's 12th-easiest schedule in 2014, according to the 2013 winning percentage of their opponents. Their home slate -- which includes three NFC North games, Atlanta, Carolina, Washington, New England and the New York Jets -- is the 15th easiest in the league, with an overall winning percentage of .488. The Vikings, who will be in their first season at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium, will see three playoff teams (Green Bay, Carolina and New England) at home next season.
For the Vikings, a better record on the road will be imperative as they move outdoors and leave one of the league's most unique home-field advantages in the Metrodome. They will be playing in front of roughly 12,000 fewer fans at home the next two seasons and will have to adapt to cold-weather home games after more than 30 years inside. If the Vikings can't rely on the same kind of unique advantage they had at the Metrodome, they might need to make up for it by being more successful on the road, where they've had a losing record every year since 2009.