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3 Stats That Stood Out: Vikings at Broncos

The Vikings on Saturday defeated the Broncos 42-28 in Denver to open the 2018 preseason slate.

Minnesota's starting defense impressed with a quick three-and-punt on its only series, and the new-look offense scored a touchdown on its first possession.

While it was a small sample size for starters, the final box score shows multiple stats that could help Minnesota win road games.

Here are three stats that stood out:

The Vikings on Saturday defeated the Broncos 42-28 in Denver to open the 2018 preseason slate.

Minnesota's starting defense impressed with a quick three-and-punt on its only series, and the new-look offense scored a touchdown on its first possession.

While it was a small sample size for starters, the final box score shows multiple stats that could help Minnesota win road games.

Here are three stats that stood out:

1. 37 rushes by Vikings, 19 by Broncos

The yards per carry (5.6 for Minnesota and 5.2 for Denver) was pretty close, but the Vikings rushed 37 times, almost double the 19 by the Broncos.

Teams always have to earn the right to run the football, and the Vikings did so. Latavius Murray rumbled for gains of 20 and 21 on Minnesota's first two rushes of the preseason.

A bonus effect of running the ball with success often has a correlation with winning time of possession. Sure enough, the Vikings held the ball for 35:44, compared to 24:16 by the Broncos.

2. 127.1 combined passer rating by Vikings

Kirk Cousins was razor sharp, and former Denver quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Kyle Sloter also had shining moments in their "homecoming" game.

Cousins completed all four of his pass attempts for 42 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown to Stefon Diggs, finishing his first Vikings exhibition game with a passer rating of 150.0.

Siemian was 11-of-17 passing for 165 yards and two touchdowns (13 and 78 yards) to Roc Thomas for a rating of 111.2. He had a pass that was just behind Tyler Conklin intercepted.

Sloter was 9-of-11 passing for 69 yards and a touchdown for a rating of 123.1.

All told, the Vikings quarterbacks finished the night 24-of-32 passing for 276 yards and a rating of 127.1.

Denver, on the other hand, had three passers — Case Keenum, Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly — combine to go 21-of-36 passing for 206 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions (passer rating of 69.9).

3. 4-for-4 in the red zone

All four of Minnesota's trips inside the Denver 20 ended with trips to the end zone.

The ability of an offense to finish drives with seven points instead of three can be critical in a league with close games, particularly when playing on the road.

Denver made two trips inside the Minnesota 20 but only finished one drive with a touchdown. The second trip didn't occur until the game's closing moments. Time expired before a fourth-and-1 incompletion ended the game.

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