The 2022 NFL regular season is finally here, with games beginning throughout the league this week to kick off a new year. Among the list of interesting matchups in the season opener, the Minnesota Vikings Week 1 battle against a division rival is right up there among some of the games to watch in the first weekend.
Minnesota will open its 62nd regular season in franchise history at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis when the Vikings host the Green Bay Packers in an early-season border battle. The Vikings and Packers rivalry is one of the more entertaining rivalries for both franchises and in the NFL, with drama filling headlines over the last few years.
Right out of the gate, football fans will be spoiled with yet another edition of this rivalry on Sunday evening in Minnesota. And the Week 1 game has plenty of storylines and implications worth keeping an eye on.
Three Keys for Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 Against Green Bay Packers
O’Connell Era Underway
This offseason, Kevin O’Connell left the Los Angeles Rams to take over as head coach of the Vikings following the firing of Mike Zimmer. With Minnesota needing a breath of fresh air at head coach, O’Connell will begin his tenure at the helm of the purple and gold by facing arguably the biggest rival the organization has.
With the “real” games now beginning, it will be interesting to see the schemes and the implementation that takes place both on offense and defense in this new era. Along with that, it will be intriguing to see if O’Connell can not only try and replicate the type of team he was part of in Los Angeles, but if that results in Minnesota coming away with an important Week 1 win while starting the journey of returning to the postseason.
One of the most intriguing parts of the new coaching staff insertion in Minnesota is the potential of the team on both sides of the ball, but mainly offensively. Vikings fans are hoping their squad turns into a team similar to what we’ve seen out of the Rams with O’Connell leading the charge. Sunday’s Week 1 contest will be the first sign of how that might look this season and moving forward.
Vikings Hopeful Home Field Provides Advantage
Over the last handful of seasons, Minnesota has been a dominant team at home while playing in front of the U.S. Bank Stadium crowd that is tough for any opposition to play in front of. The performance at home by the purple and gold is something they hope carries into the 2022 season, starting with a big divisional showdown right away to begin the year.
Over the last few years, the Minnesota and Green Bay rivalry, which annually includes two regular-season games played in each location, has been an even and entertaining one. The last two seasons, the Vikings and Packers have split the season series with each other, with the 2021 season resulting in each team defending home-field to pull out victories. On Sunday in Minneapolis, it will be interesting to see if Minnesota is able to continue that trend for another year while also gaining a big advantage in the quest for an NFC North title for the first time since 2017.
When he took over the head coaching job this offseason, O’Connell noted how difficult he remembers games at U.S. Bank Stadium being for opposing teams. Now on the other side of that noise, O’Connell has to hope that continues in his favor and in the favor of the Vikings in the new year.
Important Game Early
Sunday’s game is just the first game of the 17-game, 18-week regular season slate, but the Week 1 showdown between the Vikings and Packers will be a key and important battle for both squads. This game could be a game we look back on at the end of the year and note as having an impact on the divisional race and which team gets an automatic spot in the NFL Playoffs as a result of claiming the NFC North crown.
Green Bay has taken home the title of division champion the last three seasons, and the Packers are favorites over the rest of the division to make it four straight in 2022. Minnesota hopes it is the team to end that streak and create a new streak of its own atop the NFC North, and the Week 1 showdown will be a very important game to try and accomplish that.
Whenever you play a division opponent and a rival, it’s an important game regardless of the stage of the season. But when you face off against a team which is a top 10 squad in the NFL and a team viewed as an early favorite to win the division you are also trying to take, it holds even greater importance. That makes this season-opening showdown against the Packers an incredibly important one for the Vikings and their hopes of getting back to the postseason.