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Monday, May 20, 2013
Vikings stadium: Packers first opponent?

By Kevin Seifert

In 2003, the NFL scheduled the Minnesota Vikings as the Green Bay Packers' first opponent in the renovated Lambeau Field. So naturally, the Vikings are expecting the league to return the favor 13 years later.

Nothing will be official for a while, but the Vikings' top stadium executive suggested to multiple media outlets over the weekend that the Packers likely will be the first regular-season opponent in the Vikings' new stadium, scheduled to open in time for the 2016 season.

Responding to a question about jabs from Packers fans on the stadium's design, Vikings vice president Lester Bagley told KARE-Ch. 11 that "we can't wait" to play the Packers there.

"The way the league is structured … our very first regular-season game will likely be against the Green Bay Packers," Bagley said. "So it will be good to see Adrian Peterson break loose and score the first touchdown in the new stadium and run over Clay Matthews on his way to the end zone. We'll see. Hopefully we'll have the last word when we get to opening day in [September] 2016."

(The answer starts around the 14:30 mark.)

The Vikings defeated the Packers 30-25 in that 2003 game, intercepting quarterback Brett Favre four times. Of course, the Packers gained the final word that season by clinching the NFC North in Week 17.

There are multiple variables that go into scheduling out a season, but the Packers will have to play at the new stadium at some point during the 2016 season. So the only real obstacles to the Week 1 matchup is if the NFL opts against it or a television network wants it for later in the season.