By Danny Cox
The Denver Broncos are 3-0 and looking like a true Super Bowl contender, but they just don't have the same explosiveness as in past seasons. With that being said, they need to make sure that they don't take the visiting Minnesota Vikings lightly, or it could mean their first loss of the season.
The Vikings are sitting at 2-1 after winning two in a row since an opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers. In Week 2, they took down the Detroit Lions and in Week 3, they totally dominated the San Diego Chargers 31-14.
Minnesota Vikings on Offense
The Vikings have things together this season - much more so than in the past few years. They've finally found a franchise quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, and he's only going to continue getting better as he develops. He's already thrown for 505 yards this season, but has more interceptions (2) than touchdown passes (1). Bridgewater also needs to stay off the ground as the Vikings' O-line allows a lot of sacks.
Adrian Peterson is who the Broncos need to keep one or even two spies on throughout the game. The Vikings don't have a huge passing game and that's evident, as Mike Wallace and Kyle Rudolph lead the team in receptions, with just 12 each in the first three games. Stop Adrian Peterson, stop the Vikings.
Minnesota Vikings on Defense
Minnesota does not have the strongest defense in the world, but they do well enough to keep things going smoothly. Everson Griffin leads the team with three sacks and Peyton Manning will have to keep his eye out for that playmaker throughout the game.
The thing that Manning needs to do is expose the weak secondary of the Vikings, which can leave a lot of open holes at all times. They have just two interceptions as a team through three games, and none are by cornerbacks or safeties. The Broncos can expose the weak passing defense of the Vikings, but need to watch the pass rush.
Minnesota Vikings's Players to Watch
One would think that Adrian Peterson is the main player to watch for the Vikings, but not entirely. If the Denver Broncos can take away the threat of Wallace and Rudolph, then they eliminate the passing game almost entirely. At that point, the focus can primarily be put onto Peterson, who can hurt any team in the NFL if he's given the opportunity to do so.
This is going to be a much closer game than some would anticipate, but it's still one that the Denver Broncos can win if they play to their strengths. The key is going to be shutting down Adrian Peterson and it needs to be done by closing up the passing game of the Minnesota Vikings to have the defense concentrate on shutting down "All Day."
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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