The Vikings and Denver Broncos will square off on Sunday in what is a marquee Week 4 matchup in the NFL, with offensive stars Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning going up against a pair of red hot defenses.
Here are five of the biggest storylines we'll be chasing in the build-up to Week 4...
1. Pass rush is a plenty in this matchupWith how important the QB position is and with the enforcement of rules often times favoring the passing game, pass rushing is a premium in the NFL. With the Vikings and Broncos, though, pass rushing is a plenty. Both teams have been overwhelming offensive lines and swarming QBs of late, with Denver tallying 11 sacks in their three games and the Vikings relentlessly attacking both Matthew Stafford and Philip Rivers the past two weeks.
2. Adrian Peterson looks to keep groovingOne of last week's storylines was that Adrian Peterson appeared to gotten his groove back. This week, it's apparent – Peterson is back. He followed up his 134-yard output against Detroit with a 120-yard effort against San Diego, and he is now the NFL's rushing leader with 291 yards; he also leads the League in attempts (59) and yards per rush (4.9). One effective way to neutralize the Broncos great pass rush is to establish the run so that the talented QB chases must be cognizant of RBs before they pin their ears back in pursuit of the passer.
3. Vikings ready to deal with Mile High disadvantagesEvery team has a home-field advantage, it's just that some teams have a better one than most and some of those same teams do a better job of taking advantage of the advantage. Count the Broncos as one of those teams. Armed with a future Hall of Famer at QB (Peyton Manning), an aggressive defense and a passionate home crowd, the Broncos have made their home stadium a house of horrors for the opponent. Denver is 23-2 at home since they signed Manning (2012), tied with Seattle for the best home record during that span. Another angle working against opponents when they travel to Denver is the extreme elevation change encountered in the Mile High City.
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Broncos.
4. Can the Vikings passing game get off the ground?We know all about the Broncos passing game. Manning and his talented cast of pass catchers rate second to none when it comes to production and scoring. What a lot of people are waiting to learn more about is the Vikings passing game. While there is plenty of reason to believe the Vikings passing game can answer the bell, there are skeptics out there who are pining to see gaudier numbers. QB Teddy Bridgewater and his pass catchers have done exactly what's been asked of them the past two weeks – complement the dominant ground game paced by Peterson. But one of these weeks, the Vikings will need the aerial assault to take the lead.
5. Peterson, Manning lead star-studded castsThe Vikings-Broncos matchup features several stars, from pass rushers such as Everson Griffen, Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware to pass catchers such as Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas and Mike Wallace. But the two biggest names are Peterson and Manning. When it comes to NFL history, there aren't many who are better at their respective positions than Peterson and RB and Manning at QB. While they won't share the field at the same time, this "matchup" is a treat for football fans.