Does the NFL Play on Christmas Day? Saints vs Vikings Kickoff Time, How to Watch on TV and Online

The NFL will treat fans to a very special Christmas present this year, with a game scheduled on December 25 for the first time in three years as the New Orleans Saints host the Minnesota Vikings.

Minnesota has won three of the last four games against New Orleans, defeating the Saints 26-20 in overtime in the NFC Wild Card Game last season and winning 29-24 in the NFC Divisional Round in 2018, a game that has gone down in NFL lore as the "Minneapolis Miracle."

While the Saints have never played on Christmas Day before, the Vikings will make their fourth appearance on the holiday, the second-most of any NFL team along with the Tennessee Titans—only the Dallas Cowboys have played more games on Christmas Day.

With the holiday falling on Friday, the NFL has opted to push its traditional Thursday Night Football matchup back by a day to give fans a festive treat.

Here's all you need to know.

Is There an NFL game on Christmas Day?

For the first time since 2017, the NFL has scheduled a game for Christmas Day, which also marks the first time in 11 years two NFL teams played on Friday.

Friday games are a relative rarity in the NFL and the matchup between the Saints and the Vikings will only be the 11th ever played since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

It also means that for the first time in NFL history, the league will have held games on all seven days of the week. Together with the usual Thursday, Sunday and Monday games, the NFL has held games on Tuesday and Wednesday due to postponements forced by the coronavirus pandemic. Three games are scheduled for this coming Saturday.

Is Saints vs Vikings on TV?

Yes. The game will be broadcast by FOX and NFL Network, who have simultaneously broadcast Thursday Night Football since Week 5, with FOX Sports' lead play-by-play announcer Joe Buck and FOX Sports' lead analyst Troy Aikman on the call.

Despite being the only matchup on the slate on Christmas Day, the game has not been treated to a primetime slot and will kickoff at the rather unusual time of 4:30 p.m. ET.

Kirk Cousins and Drew Brees
Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings talks with Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints after a preseason game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on August 9, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Vikings and the Saints meet in New Orleans on Christmas Day. Sean Gardner/Getty

Is Saints vs Vikings Available Elsewhere?

Again, yes. Given the game is being treated as a traditional Thursday Night Football production, a live stream will be available on NFL Network website and NFL Network app on connected devices, FOX Sports Go and the Yahoo Sports mobile app.

As with every other Thursday Night Football game this season, a live stream will also be available via Amazon Prime Video and on Twitch.

Amazon Prime Video's coverage will feature Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer, and Prime members can also tune-in to the "Scout's Feed," which features Bucky Brooks, Daniel Jeremiah and Joy Taylor.

Has the NFL Played on Christmas Day Before?

Friday will mark the 22nd time the NFL has played a game—including both regular season and playoffs—on Christmas Day. While the holiday isn't as regular a feature on the league schedule as Thanksgiving Day, games on Christmas Day have become increasingly regularly over the last three decades, with 19 of the 21 games ever played on December 25 staged from 1989 onward.

The two exceptions both came in 1971, when the NFL staged both Divisional Playoff Round games, with the Dallas Cowboys defeating the Minnesota Vikings 20-12 and the Miami Dolphins requiring two overtime periods to prevail 27-24 in Kansas City over the Chiefs. The Vikings featured again on Christmas Day 18 years later, winning 29-21 at home against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first-ever regular-season game scheduled on Christmas Day since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.

Minnesota's third and last appearance on the holiday was a 30-23 defeat in Baltimore against the Ravens in 2005, while the Saints have never played on Christmas Day. The NFL last scheduled games on December 25 in 2017, when the Houston Texans lost 34-6 at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Oakland Raiders 19-10.