The Vikings 2014 regular season schedule was unveiled on Wednesday, as dates and times were assigned to the previously-known slate of opponents. A date for the week when the Vikings do not face an opponent – the bye week – was also unveiled, and the Vikings will have theirs in Week 10.
There are a number of theories as to when the perfect time is to have the bye. I think Week 10 is about the perfect for the 2014 Vikings, and here are five reasons why…
1. Allows opportunity for comprehensive self-scout
Time away for rest, relaxation and recharging is often associated with the bye week. That may be the approach players take, and rightfully so. But coaches and scouts have a different initiative during the bye week. They come to the facility every day and bury themselves with notes and stats and plenty of film to do what’s called a “self-scout.” Essentially, a self-scout is when a team scouts itself to identify tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. With a Week 10 bye, the Vikings will have a comprehensive sample size of nine games to do this work and to ultimately come up with ways to break tendencies, enhance strengths and neutralize weaknesses.
2. Splits the season into near-equal thirds
A Thursday night game makes for a short week of preparation, but it also gives the team a few extra days the following week to do exactly what is done in a regular bye week – recuperate and rest. So, in essence, a Thursday night game yields a quasi-bye for the following week. With the Vikings Thursday night game coming in Week 5 and with the bye coming in Week 10, the Vikings season is split up into near-equal thirds, with five games before the quasi-bye, four games before the real bye and then seven games after the real bye. This kind of balanced schedule is a good situation because it presents minimal disruption from routine and gives coaches and players ample opportunity to reenergize along the way.
3. Helps young players avoid the “rookie wall”
We all hear the term every season – the dreaded “rookie wall.” It refers to the point in the season, right around Week 12 or 13, when rookies’ bodies are subject to breaking down because they are conditioned for 12-week seasons – the length of a college football season. But having a bye in Week 10 to rest the aches and bruises will better-equip rookies and even inexperienced second-year players to handle the rigors of a 16-game schedule in the pros.
4. Provides an extra week of preparation for game at Soldier Field
Wins are hard to come by at Soldier Field. But maybe this is the year the Vikings overcome this annual obstacle. They head to the Windy City for a bout with the Bears in Week 11 as they come off the bye. The news gets even better. The Bears enter this game coming off a Sunday Night Football game on the road at Lambeau Field.
5. Perfect time to rest for a playoff chase
Every year a handful of teams who missed out on the playoffs the year prior end up earning a postseason berth. With an aggressive roster overhaul, particularly on defense, the optimism a new coaching staff can bring, and the prospect of having yet another solid draft with GM Rick Spielman calling the shots, the Vikings may be in position to be one of those teams in 2014. Aiding their efforts to do so is the Week 10 bye because it will allow the Vikings a chance to attack the final seven games – the playoff push – with fresh bodies and minds.