The Denver Broncos are heavy underdogs against the Minnesota Vikings, but they get paid to play too. How can they beat Minnesota?
The Denver Broncos don’t have much of a shot to beat the Minnesota Vikings on the road this weekend.
At least, that’s what most people looking at this game on paper probably think.
But the Denver Broncos get paid to play as well, and Vic Fangio has plenty of familiarity with Mike Zimmer and his team, and Denver certainly knows how Gary Kubiak likes to operate an offense.
So what is the key to the Broncos going into the house of a 7-3 playoff contender with Brandon Allen at quarterback and coming out with a victory?
In conjunction with controlling time of possession and making smart decisions with the football, the Broncos’ offensive weapons need to eat up yards after the catch in this game.
We’ve already seen Courtland Sutton prove his worth as a playmaker in space this season for the Broncos, and with the team’s struggles on the offensive line, Sutton is going to need to keep his breakout sophomore season rolling with some big plays against the Vikings.
But Sutton is, thankfully, not alone.
Noah Fant ranks 9th in the NFL this season with 7.2 yards after the catch per reception. The Broncos have Tim Patrick coming back off of injured reserve this week, and he proved in limited opportunities last season that he’s also capable of making big plays in space.
Although they won’t be able to do it all game, the Broncos need to use pick routes, rub routes, drag routes, and plenty of play-action to set up receivers with one-on-one opportunities to make plays in space and they have the weapons to do so.
Diontae Spencer was close to a couple of huge plays against the Cleveland Browns, and has shown what he can do in the open field as a return specialist.
DaeSean Hamilton has had some uncharacteristic drops, but he was known for his ability after the catch coming out of Penn State, and he’s been getting open on plenty of routes but hasn’t seen the targets with Joe Flacco at quarterback.
The Broncos have to keep things relatively unpredictable against the Vikings with who they target and keep the Vikings on their heels by mixing shots downfield with pocket movement via play-action and getting guys the ball in space.
Although Brandon Allen is not likely the savior the Broncos’ offense needs, he’s capable of getting the ball out of his hands quickly and the gameplan from Rich Scangarello should involve plenty of quick-hitting pass plays, misdirection, and pocket movement to get the Broncos’ playmakers opportunities after the catch.