2016 Minnesota Vikings preseason schedule includes U.S. Bank Stadium opener vs. Chargers

The NFL released the preseason schedule on Thursday. A full list of dates and times haven't been announced, but here’s a first look at the opponents for the Minnesota Vikings:

Week 1 (Aug. 12-14) at Cincinnati Bengals

Comment: Vikings coach Mike Zimmer will make his first trip back to Cincinnati for a game since the Vikings hired the former Bengals defensive coordinator to be their head coach in 2014. Zimmer will begin the preseason by sharing a field with Marvin Lewis, his former boss in Cincinnati.

Week 2 (Aug. 19-21) at Seattle Seahawks

Comment: It's a safe bet these two teams will meet in warmer conditions than they did last time, when the Seahawks beat the Vikings in minus-6 degree temperatures at TCF Bank Stadium in January. The Vikings played both of their preseason home games early in the exhibition schedule the past two years; now they'll open on the road before breaking in their new home in Week 3.

Week 3 (Aug. 28) vs. San Diego Chargers

Comment: The highlight of the Vikings' preseason schedule is their first game in their $1.1 billion new home and it will be nationally televised on Fox. The noon kickoff should provide the largest chunk of preseason playing time for the Vikings' starters, and Teddy Bridgewater should get a couple quarters to acquaint himself with his new home.

Week 4 (Sept. 1) vs. Los Angeles Rams

Comment: These two teams met in a compelling, visceral matchup last November; they'll close out the preseason hoping to escape without any injuries this year. The Vikings will close the preseason at home for the first time since 2013, and if recent history is any indication, they'll likely sit a large number of their veterans, while using the night to make some final roster decisions on bubble players.