Vegas Odds & NFL Preseason Predictions: Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos (August 11th, 2018)
Minnesota Visits Denver in Case Keenum’s Debut
The Denver Broncos were one of the best teams in football for years, but the retirement of Peyton Manning two years ago means they’ve been on the search for his replacement ever since. The defense which was an all-time great unit, still has many of the same core pieces, headlined by Von Miller. But with the addition of #5 overall pick Bradley Chubb and the departure of cornerback Aqib Talib there is a youth movement happening on that side of the ball.
But the biggest challenge has been in finding Manning’s replacement. And after failed attempts with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, the Broncos feel they’ve found their man in Case Keenum. The unlikely savior had a breakout season with the Minnesota Vikings of all teams last season. He was the third string coming into last season, but was handed the starter’s role when Sam Bradford was injured in week two and Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t ready to step in.
He had a huge season leading the Vikings all the way to the NFC Conference Finals, but Minnesota let him walk and now he’s in Denver. He’ll likely start a series or two with Lynch there to play most of the game.
The Broncos offensive line has also been a major part of the struggles and this is the second year for Garett Bolles as the starting left tackle and now veteran Ronald Leary will be by his side after playing the right guard spot last year.
Denver drafted highly regarded WR Courtland Sutton to inject some youth and speed to an aging group so all eyes will be on him as well.
Minnesota brought in Kirk Cousins to be the new starter and backing him up and likely to start the majority of this game is the ex-Bronco Siemian.
But overall continuity is the name of the Vikings game as they are returning 19 starters from last year’s team out of 22.
This team had one of the best defenses in the league last season and they are still a young group with room to grow. The offense was led by the wide receiving unit of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. RB Dalvin Cook looked like a star in the making before a knee injury ended his season prematurely. He’s looked great in camp, but it’s hard to see him playing in this one.
This game is a push with both teams even. Minnesota has been a great preseason team, with a 14-3 record in Mike Zimmer’s tenure, so I think that trend will continue to hold here. The Pick: Vikings 24-17.