NFL Cuts Preseason in Half, Vikings Will Play One Home and One Road Game

Will Ragatz

The NFL has cut the preseason in half, according to a report from Pro Football Talk. The first and last week of games are being scrapped due to safety concerns caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This is what the Vikings' preseason schedule was originally going to look like:

Week 1: vs. Texans

  • Date: Friday, August 14
  • Kickoff time: 7 p.m. central
  • Location: U.S. Bank Stadium

Week 2: at Bengals

  • Date: Friday, August 21
  • Kickoff time: 6 p.m. central
  • Location: Paul Brown Stadium

Week 3: at Browns

  • Date: Sunday, August 30
  • Kickoff time: 3 p.m. central
  • Location: FirstEnergy Stadium

Week 4: vs. Seahawks

  • Date: Thursday, September 3
  • Kickoff time: 7 p.m. central
  • Location: U.S. Bank Stadium

With this news, the home games against the Texans and Seahawks are gone, leaving just a pair of road games in Ohio in late August. It's possible that the NFL will shuffle around the schedule in light of this announcement, perhaps giving the Vikings a home game. KSTP's Darren Wolfson thinks that will be the case:

Update: It has been confirmed that each team will play one home game and one road game.

While there are many people who won't mind having a shorter preseason, this is bad news for a couple reasons. For one, it reduces the opportunities for end-of-the-roster players to show off what they can do in their attempts to make the team. The four-game preseason allows everyone on the 90-man roster a fair shot at impressing the coaching staff and earning additional opportunities.

Far more importantly, this just isn't a great sign for the 2020 NFL season as a whole. COVID-19 isn't going away anytime soon. There are some states that have seen a gradual drop in cases – Minnesota among them – but there are plenty of states that have seen a resurgence of the virus after periods without lockdown.

The NFL cancelling two preseason games (and the supplemental draft) makes you wonder what's next. Could the entire preseason be scrapped? Will the regular season be affected?

It'll be interesting to see what happens with the other major sports as they open up. The MLB, NBA, and NHL are all scheduled to resume play in late July.

It's possible that the elimination of these two preseason games is just a smart safety measure and nothing more. But it's also possible that it's just the beginning of what's to come, and that the 2020 NFL season is in serious jeopardy.

Training camp is set to begin as scheduled on July 28th.

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Comments (1)
No. 1-1

While it is interesting that they have reduced the preseason to just 2 games, have they said anything yet about whether fans will be at the games?

I can't see how it would make sense to have fans at these preseason games:

  1. The health risk would be heightened by allowing fans, which makes no sense since these games don't even count

  2. The big $ will be in pulling off a full regular season and playoffs so that the TV money flows in undiminished -- and that would be in jeopardy if anything goes wrong in the preseason

  3. Season ticket holders mostly don't want to go these games -- even before COVID-19. Throw in the pandemic, and I can't imagine any crowds voluntarily going to these games

So, given all of the above, it just wouldn't make sense to allow fans at these games. Yes, the owners could make a few $ from forcing season ticket holders to buy these tickets, but that would jeopardize the entire season -- meaning big financial losses to players and owners. The risk/reward would say: no fans at the preseason games.