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Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos: First Quarter Open Thread

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports


Date: 3 October 2015
Location: Denver, CO
Time: 3:25 PM Central Stadium: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
DirecTV Ch 714
Radio: Vikings Radio Network
XM Ch 225 (DEN)
Sirius Ch 113
TV Announcers: Kevin Burkhardt
John Lynch
Know Thy Foe: Mile High Report
Weather: 64 degrees, winds from the N at 5-10 MPH, 0% chance of rain
Line: Denver -7, Over/Under 43 (Thanks to the SB Nation Odds page)
Chris' Prediction: Broncos 20, Vikings 17
Final Score: Broncos 23, Vikings 20

Here are the ground rules for the Game Threads:

-Thou shalt not link illegal feeds of today's game, or I shall kick thy arse to the curb until the game is over. Do not promote then, do not mention them, do not even hint at them. Thou hast been warned.

-Thou shalt make an attempt to keep the swearing to a minimum. Understandable that it will slip occasionally, but do try to limit it. If you really feel the need to curse, use the spoiler tags to keep it covered up. We'll get the sentiment.

-Thou shalt not feed the trolls. Rather, thou shall simply point them out, and they shall be banished to the fires of Mordor. Or Wisconsin. Whichever we feel is more harsh at the time.

-Thou shalt not engage in racist, sexist, or other such insulting rhetoric. Somebody disagreeing with you does not make them racist or sexist. It means they disagree with you. Talk it out like adults.

-Thou shalt not bait the fans of other teams into trolling.

-Basically, thou shalt not be a jackwagon in the game thread.

The journey through the AFC West continues for the Minnesota Vikings, as they head to the Mile High City to take on the Denver Broncos. This is the Vikings' last game before their (ridiculously) early bye week, and it would be a good thing for them to go into that break with some momentum.

So, what can they do today in order to make sure that happens?

1) Punish Peyton - The Vikings' defense has spent the past couple of weeks making Matthew Stafford and Philip Rivers regret their life decisions. If they can do the same with Peyton Manning, they can greatly increase their chances of winning this football game. The Broncos' offensive line has been pretty leaky this far this season. . .Manning has already been sacked eight times in Denver's first three games after only taking 17 sacks in all of 2014. . .and it could be even leakier with starting left tackle Ty Sambrailo having been ruled out for this week's game. The Vikings need to replicate the relentless pressure they've brought over the past two weeks and get to Manning early and often to keep him from taking advantage of the array of weapons he has in the passing game.

2) Be smart on offense - The Vikings, through the first three games, have the NFL's 32nd-ranked pass offense in terms of yardage. The Broncos' defense, through the first three games, is the best in the NFL against the pass. With Charles Johnson out of this one and Jarius Wright ailing, the Vikings are going to be thin at wide receiver. . .a bad spot to be in against the league's best pass defense. The Vikings, obviously, aren't going to be able to go all day without throwing the football, so when Teddy Bridgewater drops back to pass, he's going to have to make good decisions. Opportunities against Aqib Talib and Chris Harris are going to be few and far between, so Bridgewater is going to have to spot them when they appear.

3) Control the clock - This goes hand-in-hand with the second point. While the Broncos' defense has also been very good against the run this season, they allowed Jamaal Charles to go off for 125 yards and nearly six yards/carry a couple of weeks ago. After rushing for 260 yards over the past two weeks, Adrian Peterson appears to be back in form. Peterson will, once again, be the key to the offense in this one. If he can keep the Broncos' defense honest, it would go a long way towards getting the Vikings a victory.

This should be a hard-fought, physical game between two of the NFL's best defenses. Both offensive lines are going to have their hands full this afternoon. . .and even though I expect the Vikings to get to Manning frequently in this one, his presence is still enough, in my opinion, to swing the pendulum towards the home team ever so slightly.

As always when I pick against our favorite team, I would be incredibly happy to be proven wrong. So. . .prove me wrong, Vikings. Prove me wrong.