Minnesota Vikings: 2017 Preseason Schedule Breakdown

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Vikings will look to recover from a struggle-filled 2016, which starts in the preseason. Breaking down their 2017 preseason schedule.

Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings will hit the road for two-straight away games for the second consecutive preseason. That’s not ideal for a team facing stirring changes on almost all levels of the offense, but obviously nothing they haven’t dealt with before.

The Vikings enter the 2017 season trying to rebound from an 8-8 finish. An undefeated start followed by a dismal collapse after the return from their bye, Minnesota must stay healthy and prove they can win close games in the fourth quarter.

It all starts with the 2017 preseason schedule, though. As it was released earlier this week, let’s break down the schedule to see what it could mean for the Vikings.

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Week 1: at Buffalo Bills

One of the most anticipated weeks by the fans, and one of the most bittersweet after the first few drives. We all know starters will not play passed the first few drives, if they even play at all.

Buffalo may be one of the teams that could extend their starters longer than expected, as they welcomed a new coaching regime under former Carolina defensive specialist, Sean McDermott. Minnesota will see a familiar face across the field as former Vikings head coach, Leslie Frazier, is McDermott’s new defensive coordinator.

As we enter the new season, the Bills offense remains explosive, but their defense will be highly underrated. This game between two great defensive minds and a lack of first string play will more than likely result in a grueling low scoring game. The best feature of this game is that NFL football is finally back, other than that don’t set high expectations.

Week 2: at Seattle Seahawks

Minnesota once again will see a familiar face as former kicker, Blair Walsh, will now compete for the kicking job in Seattle. These two teams are no strangers to one another, having seen each other three times in the last three years. After personally watching the last three games, do not expect a high scoring game from Minnesota.

Minnesota hasn’t scored anymore than nine points against the Seahawks since 2013. This time around, though, the offense will be significantly different.

As a fan of the away team, we are looking for movement from this offense against this vaunted Seattle defense. Only probably playing the first quarter or so, can Sam Bradford and company score points? How will the running game look with the new pieces on the offensive line and new running backs? This will be a nice test for Pat Shurmur and his newly implemented scheme.

Week 3: vs. San Francisco 49ers

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Finally Minnesota makes it back home, and for the dress rehearsal game of the regular season no less! The Vikings take on an underwhelming San Francisco team from last year that have question marks surround their entire team.

The 49ers completely cleaned house from the top down, hiring John Lynch as the new general manager, and Kyle Shanahan as the new head coach. A transition process will be in progress as San Francisco heads to Minny, and possibly a new rookie quarterback if San Francisco decides to go that route.

Minnesota should be able to feed off the ruckus crowd and drive on the last ranked defense in points allowed in 2016. Mike Zimmer’s defense will cause a multitude of issues leading to points, an extremely early prediction sees Minnesota fans leaving the game with a smile on their face.

Week 4: vs. Miami Dolphins

Miami will be the second playoff team of the preseason on Minnesota’s schedule. A complete surprise from the East, this Dolphins team would be the ideal challenge this Vikings team needs… if it were the third week of preseason.

Like Week 1, Week 4 doesn’t see many starters play for long with the home opener on the horizon. During this game, teams will be deciphering on who will make the final 53-man roster and who they might place on their practice squad.

It’s an important day for second- and third-string players vying for a spot, for positional battles going on, for decisions about where to keep depth on the roster. Guys like David Morgan and Jayron Kearse used these games last year to secure their spot on the team, hopefully general manager Rick Spielman can find another diamond in the rough.

NEXT: Minnesota Vikings: 3-Round 2017 Mock Draft Post-Free Agency

At this point, it’s just wishful thinking that everyone comes out of preseason healthy. Minnesota was decimated by injury last year, just cross your fingers there isn’t a repeat of misfortune.