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Broncos vs. Vikings: 4 winners, 3 losers from the first preseason game

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There was good and bad in Denver’s first game of the season, here’s a little of both.

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NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The good news is the Denver Broncos won’t go undefeated in the preseason.

In fact, the six-game winning streak in exhibition games is over.

The first preseason game looked like the first preseason game, with some winners and losers. Here are some of them from the Broncos 42-28 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Winners

Royce Freeman

Denver’s rookie running back carried over his strong play in training camp to his first game. His 23-yard touchdown run was impressive. Some felt Freeman should have been No. 1 on the running back depth chart coming into Saturday’s game, he should after this performance.

Jeff Holland

As if the Broncos needed anymore pass rushers on defense, but Holland showing like he did makes the Orange Rush even more daunting (rock this vintage shirt with a modern twist). Remember: He was undrafted. Holland’s strength and burst will be hard to block, especially if he’s on the field with the likes of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.

Marquette King

Denver’s new punter, and his leg, definitely got some work. While the offense left a lot to be desired, to say the least, the good news is the Broncos have a punter. The more he gets acclimated to kicking at altitude, the better he’ll get.

Isaiah McKenzie

For his wow moment of the night, a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown. It may not be enough for some to forgive his fumbles, but it’s a great way to warm them up; especially if he’s consistent.

Losers

Paxton Lynch

The time has come for John Elway and the organization to move on. How Lynch has looked at camp, he looked against the Vikings — awful, and that’s being kind. He’s a wreck mentally and he has no confidence. For those holding out hope he would “get it,” it won’t happen; at least not in Denver. Better to cut bait, admit the mistake, and move on.

First-team defense/offense

This is the most disappointing aspect of the preseason opener for the Broncos. Both looked lethargic and ill-prepared. That is a 180 to what the team has looked like in practice. It’s too early to panic given this was the first preseason game, and at least for the defense Miller didn’t even play. But it is something to keep an eye on as the preseason moves forward.

Devontae Booker

This is a combination of how he looked on the field, but also Freeman. Booker looked and played like the same running back ... one who doesn’t trust himself, lacks vision and runs with happy feet. Yes, Booker only had two carries but that was enough.