The NFL announced this afternoon that the Vikings will play the Green Bay Packers in the Monday night opener at 6 p.m., Sept. 8 at Lambeau Field on ESPN. As has become the custom, it will be the first game of a Monday night doubleheader on the network. The game will be the first for the Packers in the post-Brett Favre era. (Do you think there will be a little talk about Favre that night? Guessing Aaron Rodgers will feel a bit of pressure.) The MNF nightcap that day will feature Denver at Oakland at 9:15 p.m. in an AFC West game.
ESPN’s top Monday night announcing team of Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Tony Kornheiser will call the early game at Lambeau Field. The crew for the second game will be announced later this offseason.
The Vikings also played on the opening Monday night of the 2006 season when they beat Washington in Brad Childress’ first game as head coach.
Last season, the Vikings made only one Monday night appearance. That came Dec. 17 at the Metrodome. Of course, the 2007 schedule was done long before Adrian Peterson proved himself to be one of the NFL’s top running backs and marquee attractions. Overall, the Vikings finished with two prime-time games last season. The Dec. 23 matchup against Washington was moved to Sunday night on NBC under the league’s flexible scheduling system.
For those of you who live in the Twin Cities area and don’t get ESPN, you don’t have to worry. Under NFL rules, the network must find a local station to simulcast the coverage. It’s likely that station will be KSTP (Ch. 5).
The NFL announced key dates associated with the opening week today at the league’s meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. As expected, the Super Bowl champion New York Giants will play host to Washington at 6 p.m. on Sept. 4 on NBC. Kickoff will be 90 minutes earlier than the start time of the traditional season opener due to the Republican National Convention, which NBC News will cover following the conclusion of the game.
Chicago and Indianapolis will play in the Sunday night primetime opener at 7:15 on NBC on Sept. 7. That will be the first regular-season game at the Colts’ new Lucas Oil Stadium.
The rest of the NFL schedule will be announced later this month.
This will be the sixth time the Vikings have opened against the Packers. A look at their previous meetings in season openers:
Sept. 16, 1962: Packers 34, Vikings 7 at Green Bay (Vikings finished 2-11-1)
Sept. 15, 1974: Vikings 32, Packers 17 at Green Bay (Vikings finished 10-4)
Sept. 6, 1992: Vikings 23, Packers 20, overtime, at Green Bay (Vikings finished 11-5 in Dennis Green’s first season)
Sept. 4, 1994: Packers 16, Vikings 10 at Green Bay (Vikings finished 10-6)
Sept. 7, 2003: Vikings 30, Packers 25 at Green Bay (Vikings finished 9-7)
Draft party: The Vikings draft party will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 26 at the team’s Winter Park headquarters. General admission tickets are $15 and go on sale Tuesday. They can be purchased at all Vikings Locker Room stores, by calling Ticketmaster at 651-989-5151 or by going to http://www.ticketmaster.com/. There will be interactive games as well as the chance to have your photo taken with Adrian Peterson’s MVP trophy from the Pro Bowl.
For those who want to spend more, a special section called the Red Zone will have reserved seating and provide a few benefits. Those tickets will cost $70. Owners of those tickets will receive a private autograph session with a current Vikings player and free food and beverage coupons.