Breakdown: It gets real in a hurry for the Minnesota Vikings, who open the season with consecutive NFC North games -- on the road. They'll play at the Detroit Lions in Week 1 and at the Chicago Bears in Week 2, the first time the NFL has asked them to play a pair of divisional teams on the road during the first two weeks of the season in 21 years.
It doesn't get much easier from a travel standpoint. The Vikings' home opener comes in Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns, followed by a "home" game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in London. You would hope the Vikings could handle the Browns at home, but Minnesota will have to work hard to avoid going into its Week 5 bye with a non-losing record. Overall, it'll play twice at the Metrodome over the first seven weeks of the season.
Last year's playoff run, along with tailback Adrian Peterson's historic season, did propel the Vikings into three prime-time games -- including two in a row. They'll have a Monday night game at the New York Giants in Week 7 and a Sunday night matchup at home against the Green Bay Packers in Week 8.
The last regular-season game at the Metrodome will be in Week 17 against the Lions. The stadium, opened in 1982, is scheduled to be razed to make room for the team's new stadium. The Vikings will move to the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium for 2014 and 2015.
Complaint department: The Vikings went 7-1 at the Metrodome last season and are 164-89 there all time. This season, however, they'll have one fewer game in the building thanks to their entrance into the London rotation. The Vikings were eager volunteers, given their limited local revenues at the Metrodome, but let's face it: Playing the Steelers outdoors at Wembley Stadium is a lot different than hosting them in the Metrodome. The Vikings will technically be the home team but won't have a traditional home-field advantage.
Minnesota West: Week 11 will bring the Vikings' grudge match against the legions of former players now on the Seattle Seahawks' roster. When they travel to play the Seahawks for a Nov. 17 game, the Vikings will see receivers Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice and cornerback Antoine Winfield, among others. Former Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will also be calling the Seahawks' plays.
Vikings Regular-Season Schedule (all times Eastern)
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 8, at Detroit, 1 p.m.
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 15, at Chicago, 1 p.m.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 22, Cleveland, 1 p.m.
Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 29, Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.
Week 5: BYE
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 13, Carolina, 1 p.m.
Week 7: Monday, Oct. 21, at NY Giants, 8:30 p.m.
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 27, Green Bay, 8:30 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 3, at Dallas, 1 p.m.
Week 10: Thursday, Nov. 7, Washington, 8:25 p.m.
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 17, at Seattle, 4:25 p.m.
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 24, at Green Bay, 1 p.m.
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 1, Chicago, 1 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 8, at Baltimore, 1 p.m.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 15, Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 22, at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 29, Detroit, 1 p.m.