After a big upset win over the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football, the Denver Broncos are now set to host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football in Week 11. Here’s our early game preview.
Vikings’ keys to victory: QB Josh Dobbs got up to speed quickly in Minnesota. Already 2-0 with the Vikings, Dobbs might now get reinforcements this week as WR Justin Jefferson (hamstring) could return from injured reserve, which would be a huge boost to Minnesota’s offense. Regardless of Jefferson’s status, the Vikings should continue feeding RB Ty Chandler because RB Alexander Mattison has continued to underwhelm and he is now in concussion protocol. Minnesota won’t want to get into a situation where Dobbs has to lead a pass-heavy attack against a stingy Denver secondary, despite the QB being hot lately. On defense, the Vikings will aim to slow down the Broncos’ rushing attack, daring Denver’s offense to beat them through the air.
Broncos’ keys to victory: QB Russell Wilson has thrown 18 touchdown passes through nine games, but that total has been somewhat inflated by red-zone screens. The more notable numbers are Wilson’s four interceptions, five fumbles and 30 sacks this year. Denver coach Sean Payton has done a good job bringing out Wilson’s strengths and minimizing his weaknesses, but the QB isn’t best-suited to lead a pass-heavy offense. The Broncos will pound the rock against a spotty Minnesota defensive line. On defense, Denver will aim to contain Dobbs and not let him beat rushers to the edge after he rushed for 110 yards and two TDs over the last two weeks.
Matchup to watch: Vikings OG Dalton Risner vs. Broncos DL Zach Allen. At the conclusion of the 2022 season, Risner said he wanted to be “valued” going into NFL free agency. Denver clearly didn’t value him — they let Risner walk in the spring and he remained a free agent for more than six months before getting a one-year deal in Minnesota. Risner now starts for the Vikings and he’s set to face Allen, who has totaled 10 QB hits and three sacks in his last six games.
Who wins? Dobbs has given Minnesota hope, but Denver is at home and seeking another win to get into the playoff hunt. Broncos 26, Vikings 23.