The Vikings' 2008 schedule is available for us to ponder. Let's ponder it.
week 1, at Green Bay
Tarvaris Jackson and Aaron Rodgers throw a combined six passes into opposing defenders' chests. Ryan Grant rushes 14 times for 30 yards.
week 2, Indianapolis
Peyton Manning laughs as the Vikings try to cover Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, Anthony Gonzalez, AND Dallas Clark. Joseph Addai rushes 9 times for 14 yards.
week 4, Carolina
If the Vikes lose to the Panthers at home in September, we know what sort of season it will be.
week 5, at New Orleans
Drew Brees completes 50 passes for 277 yards. Reggie Bush rushes eight times for 12 yards.
week 6, Detroit
The Vikings don't lose to the Lions at home. When the Vikings are bad, this is a close game; when the Vikings are average, this is a blowout.
week 7, at Chicago
In 2007, the Vikes beat the Bears at Soldier Field for the first time since 2000. Two in a row? The Bear offense is so bad I believe it is possible.
week 8, BYE
If the Vikings are going to have any sort of season at all in 2008, they'll be sitting with three or four wins here.
week 9, Houston
The Texans visit Minnesota for the first time. Which team will Sage Rosenfels be playing for?
week 10, Green Bay
The Vikes have lost the last two Metrodome Packer games. Quite frankly, if they lose three in a row, I've got no time for Brad Childress anymore.
week 11, at Tampa Bay
The Vikings have had a lot of really lousy trips to Tampa. But by week 11, the Buccaneers will be on their third or fourth quarterback in a down year.
week 12, at Jacksonville
300 total rushing yards between the Vikes and Jags.
week 13, Chicago
Let's say the Vikes are right around .500 at this point and broiled in a quarterback controversy. No, let's say this is the Vikes' eighth or ninth win and we all dance about in the streets.
week 14, at Detroit
The later in the season the Vikes play Detroit, the better: by December, the Lions' season is totally over.
week 15, at Arizona
Oh no. Oh, please no.
week 16, Atlanta
If the Vikings are anywhere near playoff contention at midseason, they should make the playoffs. Tell me a playoff contender doesn't like to see a December slate of Lions-Cardinals-Falcons. For the last 40 years, any team that doesn't go at least 2-1 in a Lions-Cardinals-Falcons slate completely sucks.
week 17, Giants
Normally, you don't want to end the season with the defending Super Bowl champs. But the Vikings play the Giants well. The last three times the Vikes went into week 17 with playoff possibilities, they were on the road and they lost (2003, 2004, 2007). It's good to close at home.