Vikings vs Broncos Preview by Joel Schafer

The Vikings are heading to the Mile high city to take on the 3-0 Broncos. Skol nation struggled in San Francisco three weeks ago but have flourished in their temporary home, TCF stadium.   What should Skol nation be looking for against this AFC powerhouse?

peyton-manning-point2teddy vs sdwpid-050313-NFL-Denver-Broncos-Von-Miller-TV-lacesout_20130503161325304_600_400.jpegDenver Broncos

Peyton Manning has started this year out  with a pace for a career low in yards per attempt passing.  With his current pace that he has set through 3 game he will generate 4070 yards, assuming he plays all 16 games. There is too much talk about this being the end of his career and he is done. Manning has been criticized for not being able to throw the deep ball, for throwing wounded ducks and for not being able to make all the throws.  Manning doesn’t have to worry about that here. Peyton is the smartest guy on the field. Has his physical abilities diminished? Yes, yet he is able to win games with his head. Do not overlook Manning as a weapon to contend with.  Peyton will  audible to positive plays and get the ball out of his hands quickly and on time to his receivers.

 

The Broncos seem to have one thing that is a real problem for most defenses (outside of Manning). The have a deep and very talented receiving corps. Damaryius Thomas is a nightmare for most corner backs. He is  listed at 6’3″  230. Most big guys can’t run routes as well as he can. He can win a jump ball (as we witnessed last week). Emmanuel Sanders is the little engine that could. He may be slight in size but he runs good routes and gets open. Jordan Norwood  seems to have taken the Wes Welker role over as the slot receiver or is it rookie Bennie Fowler. Both seem to getting touches. Bennie Fowler had four targets and receptions in week three.

The broncos have been limited in the ground game. They are among the worst in the league in rushing.  In three games they have had team rushing totals of  69, 61, 41. They have passed 134 of 201 (including sacks as pass plays) offensive plays this year  66.7%.  They run just to keep the pass rush off of Manning.

The Broncos Defense has been excellent all year. They have one of the best pass rush tandems in the league. DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller seem to get have a lot of business meetings, all of them over quarterbacks. The Vikings O-line will have its hands full. Denver rarely needs to blitz to hit the quarterback.  With that being said, there is enough tape showing a massive weakness in covering A-gap blitzes. I would not be surprised to see 5-10 of them to try to ruffle the feathers of the young Bridgewater.

With a pass rush that get home it leaves little time to get open. It also helps to have 2 really good corner backs that can cover. Chris Harris and Aqib Talib have the outside locked down. Talib can be beatable but he is playing very well and has sucked in a quarterbacks into throwing and he has jumped the route.  Look for Mismatches inside with Kyle Rudolph.  We may also see Stefon Diggs for the first time this year (Charles Johnson has a rib injury), there may be a few wrinkles thrown in for him.

The Broncos Offensive line is beat up. This is very similar to the Chargers. Expect this to be something to keep an eye on.  Be ready to see 5+ turnovers combined in this game 3 interceptions 2 fumbles. Denver got Jamaal Charles to fumble they will get Peterson at least once.  Expect the Vikings to run the Peterson 20-27 times and try to play bully ball once again on offense and defense.   Look forward to 45 passes from Manning  and the broncos to abandon the run yet again.  Listen for the word Omaha, it will be said at least 30 times. NFL: San Diego Chargers at Minnesota VikingsKyle Rudolph