While the opportunity to win the game may seem slim, there is still a chance. As Ian St. Clair and I discussed on the MHR Radio Podcast (Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify), there are a few players who will play a key role if the Broncos are going to pull off the upset.
The Vikings are one of the best teams in the NFL, and a big part of that is the play of Dalvin Cook. He has been seemingly unstoppable this season. Denver will have to make sure he doesn’t break out if they are going to have a chance. There are a few players on the defensive side of the ball that will be integral parts of stopping the run.
Obviously, Derek Wolfe has been having a very good season. He and Mike Purcell will need to control the defensive line, and allow Alexander Johnson to make plays. If the Broncos can’t stop the run, the chance of winning shrinks to zero.
On the opposite side of the ball, the best way to keep the ball out of Dalvin Cook’s hands is to control the tempo of the game. If Denver can win the time of possession battle, that goes a long way to completing the upset. How? Run the ball effectively with Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman.
It’s an obvious equation, but one that isn’t easily accomplished against a team like the Vikings. While Denver will send Brandon Allen out for his second career start, he will still be behind a bad offensive line. Garett Bolles and Elijah Wilkinson will have their hands full with Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter. If Lindsay and Freeman can control the ball, and force the Vikings to respect the run, it could allow Allen time to find Courtland Sutton or Noah Fant in key situations.
The Denver Broncos do not look like a team that can go into Minnesota and steal a win from the Vikings. If they are going to accomplish that difficult task, these players will play a key role in snatching the upset.