Minnesota Vikings (0-0) at Denver Broncos (0-0)
|Date & Time||Saturday August 11, 2018, 9:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Denver Broncos -1 -- Over/Under: 35
|TV Channel||Stream live sports and ESPN originals on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Start your 7-day free trial today!|
We have some week 1 NFL preseason action from Mile High on Saturday as the Minnesota Vikings pay a visit to the Denver Broncos.
The Minnesota Vikings will be looking to build on of their most successful seasons in recent memory after finishing last year with a 13-3 record and reaching the NFC title game with backup Case Keenum playing in all but six quarters last season before falling to eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia. Kirk Cousins signed an $84 million contract with the Vikings in the offseason after Minnesota cut ties with Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater. Cousins threw for 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns for a 3rd straight year and while have Dalvin Cook for a full season after Cook tore his ACL in week 4 last season. Cook averaged 4.8 yards per carry and was thriving in Minnesota’s screen offense before suffering the injury. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs return to anchor Minny’s receiving corps after combining for 155 catches and over 2,100 yards with 12 touchdowns last season. Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph and Danielle Hunter will anchor the Vikings’ pass-rush, while Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes will be joined by first round pick out of UCF in Mike Hughes to help with the pass defense that was second and the team defense that was the best in the NFL last season. It’s Super Bowl or bust for the Vikings faithful, will Cousins be able to lead Minnesota to the promise land in the hotly contested NFC North?
The Denver Broncos will be looking to forget 2017 after finishing the season 5-11 in the AFC West basement, missing the playoffs for the second straight year with the team’s fewest wins since 2010 and 2nd fewest wins in the last 27 years. Ironically enough, the Broncos tried to improve their offense by picking up the scraps of Minnesota’s team from last season, by signing former Vikings QB and the aforementioned Case Keenum to a two-year, $25 million guaranteed contract, hoping to bring what he put out in Minnesota last season with 22 touchdowns to 7 interceptions last season, just one season after the Broncos finished 2nd last in the NFL with 22 total interceptions thrown between Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and current backup Paxton Lynch. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders return to help with the receiving duties while Devontae Booker emerged as the lead running back for the Broncos offense. Defensively, the Broncos got quite possibly the best pass rushed in the draft in NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb at 5th overall. The Broncos logged just 33 sacks in 2017, far removed from the 52 sacks that the Super Bowl winning team logged just two years prior. Only time will tell if the Broncos can regain their lost form and re-emerge as a contender in the AFC West this season.
Minnesota is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 road games and 42-19 ATS in their last 61 games overall while the over is 5-2 in their last 7 road games. Denver is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games and 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games overall while the under is 5-2 in their last 7 games overall. The underdog is 4-1-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings between these two teams.
Once again, anyone who has read any of my stuff in the first week of preseason, knows I’m all about who has more depth as the preseason is all about position battles and putting forth a solid effort to get more playing time. With that said, I’m not sure why the Broncos are favoured here. Sure, I’d expect Keenum to want to stick it to his former team, but Keenum will see the field for maybe one series in the best case. Minnesota has a far deeper team than the Broncos do, and I expect the Vikings to win this one outright but I’ll take the free point just to be safe.