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Minnesota Vikings 2012 Schedule Analysis: Where Are the Prime Time Games?

As you may have heard, the NFL made a big hullabaloo about the release of their 2012 regular season game schedule. If you’re not a 13 year old girl who was just learned about football for the first time, not much of this is a surprise to you. You already knew that the team would play the Lions, Packers, and Bears twice (just not when exactly, but whatever, six loses already), you probably could have figured out the team was also playing the NFC West this year, and – if you were really smart – figure out which games were home and away. Likewise, the AFC South rotates to our division again this year, and we pick up the final two games against Washington and Tampa Bay. COOL.

Finding out what teams the Vikings play isn’t the most exciting part about the schedule being released, though. The real excitement comes in figuring out your plans – TO THE HOUR – for each game weekend, based on WHEN the teams play. Specifically, how many times am I going to have to write a shitty game recap at 11:00 PM on a Sunday because the Vikings will be playing on national television on Sunday Night Football? And nationally on Monday Night Football? How many times will I have to listen to Jon Gruden talk about Shirtless Ponder? I’m sure the Vikings have tons of games on these important time slots, right? Or at least like a late Sunday afternoon showing? Well.

Jokes on all of us because the Vikings will only start off with ONE nationally televised primetime game (on a Thursday, no less), with only two others starting after Noon on Sunday. Think about that. The Vikings have essentially been swept under the rug for the 2012 season. Crapped on and forgotten, like we were TiVO, 8-Tracks, or the Seattle Seahawks. Terrible.

But here’s the thing: It’s not our fault.

Oh, sure. You may look at the 2012 Minnesota Vikings and see an unimpressive second year quarterback who can’t reliably get the ball to the most dynamic player who still has two working knees at wide receiver. Or a star running back coming off of surgery to repair to town ligaments less then a year ago. Maybe you see a defense that has a secondary with more holes than a Vikings stadium proposal, a defensive line that’s aging and can’t rush the passer OR stop the run. You may say to yourself, “There is nothing about this team that would make us want to force people to watch this crap nationally.” And yet? It’s not our fault!

Look at the pairings here, and you’ll see what I mean. For quick reference, let’s post the schedule:

Sunday, Sept. 9: vs. Jacksonville, noon, CBS

Sunday, Sept. 16: at Indianapolis, noon, Fox

Sunday, Sept. 23: vs. San Francisco, noon, Fox

Sunday, Sept. 30: at Detroit, noon, Fox

Sunday, Oct. 7: vs. Tennessee, noon, CBS

Sunday, Oct. 14: at Washington, 3:15 p.m., Fox

Sunday, Oct. 21: vs. Arizona, noon, Fox

Thursday, Oct. 25: vs. Tampa Bay, 7:20 p.m., NFL Network

Sunday, Nov. 4: at Seattle, 3:15 p.m., Fox

Sunday, Nov. 11: vs. Detroit, noon, Fox

Sunday, Nov. 18: Bye

Sunday, Nov. 25: at Chicago, noon, Fox

Sunday, Dec. 2: at Green Bay, noon, Fox

Sunday, Dec. 9: vs. Chicago, noon, Fox

Sunday, Dec. 16: at St. Louis, noon, Fox

Sunday, Dec. 23: at Houston, noon, Fox

Sunday, Dec. 30: vs. Green Bay, noon, Fox

OK. Ouch. For national attention, this is obviously brutal. But look at this competition! Uh, the Jaguars? Horrible. I’m not sure how Blaine Gabbert helped that team to a positive record. Whatever the absolute zero equivalent of not winning is, I’m surprised the Jags didn’t finish with that record. And they haven’t done anything to get better! What, Blaine Gabbert cut his hair? Nice work, Samson, that’s always turned out to be a great decision. Just ask Jared Allen!

And then there’s the Colts? Pfft! Who wants to watch that garbage? No one cares or has cared about the Colts unless Peyton Fetushead was playing there. What, you think just because Andrew Luck is there that people want to watch him throw 7 interceptions a game? Of course not! If they did, they’d just put on a Jets game instead!

I mean, the reasons go on and on and on. San Francisco? Can’t stand to watch Alex Smith throw ducks any longer. Detroit? I’ve already seen Vanilla Ice at a sporting event, thank you. I don’t need nationally televised MC Stafford. The Titans lost all credibility when their mustached coach was fired, Washington has Rex Grossman (possibly RGIII, but … come on … Rex Grossman …), the Cardinals can’t replace the prime time attraction that is Barnum and Bailey’s, Seattle has TarVar (enough said), Chicago and Sad Face Cutler would give kids nightmares, Rams were amazingly worse than the Vikings last year without being able to blame it on quarterback issues, Houston is as interesting as the first 15 years of the Timberwolves, and the Packers have Aaron Rodgers, who is gay, and therefore should not be given a national spotlight to corrupt the minds of young children. Now … a late night “double header”? Good to go, if you get my meaning (I mean gay sex for the night time crowd, BTW).

So as you can see, it’s not the Vikings fault. The reason the team didn’t end up with a bunch of prime time games is only because all of our opponents this year are terrible and unfit for national television. Our team? We’re fine! Really! It’s not us, it’s you! It’s their fault! People love our team, what we bring, our potential, the fire we bring every game, and so much more. We’d be the prime time game every week – twice a week if need be! – if they would let us, because the NFL LOVES US SO MUCH. We have star power, a young QB, a bunch of feel good stories (you know, all those free agents we signed that no one has heard of …), and a black coach. The NFL loves to give black coaches more air time to prove their not racist. Just ask Chiefs coach Romeo Cren … Bengals coach Marvin Le …

Well. At least Mike Tomlin and Lovie Smith get some attention. Although I really question that Lovie Smith … How his teams continue to compete is beyond me.