Denver Broncos: Behind Enemy Lines with The Viking Age

The Denver Broncos travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. I chat with Adam Carlson from The Viking Age to get his takes on the next opponent.

After a long bye week, the Denver Broncos are going on the road once again. In fact, this will be their first of four games in five weeks where the team is on the road. All four road games will be at the early window on Sunday, which is what Denver does not excel in.

But if history was to repeat itself, it could against the Minnesota Vikings. The Broncos have won three of the last four meetings in Minnesota. Not to mention the Broncos have won the last three overall meetings against the team in the North.

But both teams are completely different from the last meeting. Denver no longer has Peyton Manning as their quarterback and Minnesota does not have Teddy Bridgewater. I foresee this game being a tough defensive battle. Both teams have two of the top five defenses in the league.

This will also mark the third NFC North opponent the Broncos will face in 2019. So far, the team is winless against the Bears and Packers. Here is hoping the Broncos can get their first win against a NFC team this season.

With a big matchup coming up, I decided to cross into enemy territory and chat with Adam Carlson from The Viking Age to get some thoughts on the upcoming opponent.

The Minnesota Vikings got a huge win over the Dallas Cowboys on SNF. How confident are you in this team now that they have won seven of their first ten games?

Honestly, it’s time to feel good, but not great. Green Bay still has a pretty firm grip on the NFC North, meaning Minnesota has a tough road ahead of them. The good news is the NFC doesn’t have a lot of teams with great records, and past the top 6 teams in the conference, there is a bit of distance there. so it feels like the Vikings will be in the postseason.

But this is still a Vikings team that has looked both amazing and extremely disappointing at times. Both the defense and the offense have had their ups and downs and until those peaks and valleys level off, it’s really hard to know what this team really can be.

What have been your thoughts on Kirk Cousins in his second season with the Vikings?

When it was announced that Minnesota would be signing Cousins, I was a skeptic. During his time in Washington, he didn’t do a lot to prove that he can take a team to the next level. Washington barely had a winning record with him at QB (41-40-2) and lost the only playoff game he started. Of course, that was the Redskins, a team that has earned a recent reputation for their dysfunction and..interesting roster moves.

One thing Cousins never had in Washington was a lot of talent around him. When he has Dalvin Cook behind him and some help from his offensive line, he can use play-action and rollouts to give him time to find open receivers. I’m still not sold on Cousins because there have been a few “Bad Kirk” games, but when he’s throwing 18 touchdowns compared to three interceptions, it’s hard to complain about what he’s doing.

While it is not talked about much, the Vikings have a solid defense. What about this unit has made them so special and can they help lead the team to the playoffs and beyond?

The last two years had a Vikings defense that was near the top of the league. This year, Minnesota’s unit has still been good, but they aren’t the shutdown grouping from years past. Both Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes have been exposed at different times this season.

But the real strength of this team is two-fold. Minnesota’s pass rush tandem of Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen have been very good for several years now, and they don’t look like they’re slowing down any time soon. The limited amount of time a quarterback has in the pocket means they may have to dump off the pass early, and the Vikings pride themselves on limiting yards after the catch with great tackling from their linebackers and secondary.

The Broncos travel to face the Vikings. What will it take to get a win against a team that Minnesota rarely sees?

I don’t want to be THIS guy, but it would take a pretty big collapse for the Vikings to lose at home this week. Minnesota’s home-field advantage is real, as they haven’t dropped a single game at U.S. Bank Stadium this year and 22-7 all-time in that facility. And they are going up against Brandon Allen in his first start, and that all adds up to big trouble from the Broncos.

That said, there have been collapses in the past. The Vikings were blown out by the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 last year in Minnesota and seemed to be unable to deal with Josh Allen, making him look like the best possible combination of Tom Brady and Michael Vick. It’s possible the unknown factor of this “Allen” will keep the purple and gold guessing.

Is there one player on the Vikings roster that not a lot of fans know about that can play a factor in Sunday’s game?

If you haven’t been watching rookie tight end Irv Smith Jr. this year, his play will open some eyes. Not only is he a dynamic pass-catcher who can pick up a lot of yards after the catch, but his ability to block downfield has helped several of his fellow players to pick up extra yardage or even find the end zone.

A second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Smith doesn’t get a lot of attention behind starting tight end Kyle Rudolph. And while the veteran is more likely to get the looks in the red zone, watch for the rookie’s workload to get bigger and bigger as the season goes on.

Thank You Adam for taking the time out to chat with me. Keep an eye out at The Viking Age for Adam’s questions with me.