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Game Preview: Vikings vs. Broncos

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings (7-3) are back at U.S. Bank Stadium for their only home game between Oct. 25 and Dec. 7.

Minnesota will host Denver (3-6) at noon (CT) Sunday. It will mark the Broncos first trip here since 2011.

The Vikings bounced back from a final-play loss at Kansas City with a 28-24 victory that was secured on the final snap at Dallas.

The Broncos are coming off their bye week and have won three of five.

In the past six games, Kirk Cousins has totaled an NFL-best passer rating of 124.4. He leads the NFL with 1,702 passing yards, is tied for the NFL lead with 10 touchdowns and ranks third with a completion percentage of 71.5 in that span.

Dalvin Cook leads the NFL with 991 rushing yards and is first with 1,415 yards from scrimmage. He needs nine more yards on the ground to become Minnesota’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Adrian Peterson led the NFL with 1,485 in 2015.

Kyle Rudolph caught two 1-yard touchdown passes and a critical 2-point conversion against the Cowboys. The 14 points are tied with Jets TE Ryan Griffin for the most in a single game in 2019. The ninth-year pro has at least one touchdown in three of the past four games.

Minnesota’s offense ranks eighth in yards per game (384.4), fourth in yards per play (6.12), third in rushing yards per game (153.0), 17th in passing yards per game (231.4) and ninth in points per game (26.2).

Denver’s offense ranks 27th in the NFL in yards per game (311.4), 24th in yards per play (5.15), 16th in rushing yards per game (111.9), as well as 28th in passing yards per game (199.6) and points per game (16.6).

The Vikings rank fifth in the NFL in points against (18.2), 13th in yards allowed per game (333.1), seventh in rushing yards allowed per game (91.2) and 18th in passing yards allowed per game (241.9).

The Broncos are tied for sixth in the NFL in points against (18.9) and rank fourth in yards allowed per game (309.7), 17th in rushing yards allowed per game (107.6) and fourth in passing yards allowed per game (202.1).

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Broncos.

TV BROADCAST

CBS (WCCO in Minneapolis/St. Paul)

Play-by-Play: Kevin Harlan

Analyst: Rich Gannon

Sideline Reporter: Jay Feely

LOCAL RADIO

KFAN (100.3-FM/KTLK 1130-AM in Minneapolis/St. Paul)

Play-by-Play: Paul Allen

Analyst: Pete Bercich

Sideline Reporters: Greg Coleman & Ben Leber

Radio Pre-game Show: Mike Mussman | 10 a.m. (CT)

KFAN and KTLK serve as the flagship stations for the five-state Vikings Radio Network.

SATELLITE RADIO

Sirius: DEN 133 or Streaming 809; MIN 81 or Streaming 819

XM: DEN Streaming 809; MIN 225 or Streaming 819

STAT OF THE WEEK

The Vikings limited Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott to 47 rushing yards, the lowest total of his career in a game when he’s had at least 20 rush attempts.

NORSEMAN NOTES

Minnesota has opened a season 7-3 for the sixth time in team history (1974, 1989, 1992, 1994, 2015 and 2019). The team has gone on to win the division in each of the five previous seasons.

Mike Zimmer is 4-2 against AFC West teams as head coach of the Vikings.

The Vikings offense has allowed only 17 sacks in 2019, which is tied for the sixth-fewest in the NFL.

QB Kirk Cousins has thrown 48 touchdown passes in 26 games with Minnesota. He is tied with QB Randall Cunningham for seventh-most by a Vikings QB.

Cousins has thrown for 6,735 yards since joining the Vikings. He passed Brett Favre (6,711) in Week 10 for the seventh-most by a Vikings QB.

Since Week 5, the Vikings offense has averaged 424.5 yards per game, the third-most in the NFL.

Dalvin Cook’s 1,415 yards from scrimmage are the most in team history through the first 10 games of a Vikings season.

Kyle Rudolph (410 receptions) needs four catches to overtake Jake Reed (413) for fifth place on Minnesota’s all-time list.

The Vikings defense has allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns in the NFL this season (two).

Danielle Hunter is 1.5 sacks from becoming the youngest player in NFL history to total 50.

According to league stats, Eric Kendricks has a career-high 11 pass breakups on the season, which is three more than any other linebacker.

Minnesota has recorded at least four sacks in five games this season, which is tied with New England for second behind Pittsburgh.

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster for the 2019 season.

VIKINGS-BRONCOS CONNNECTIONS

Vikings P Britton Colquitt played for the Broncos from 2010-15.

Minnesota Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Advisor Gary Kubiak played quarterback for the Broncos from 1983-90. Kubiak then joined Denver’s coaching staff from 1995-2005 before returning for two seasons (2015-16) as the team’s head coach.

Dennison played for Denver from 1982-90 and coached for the Broncos from 1995-2008 and again in 2015.

Vikings tight ends coach Brian Pariani coached in Denver from 1995-2004 and again from 2015-16.

Klint Kubiak served as an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach at Denver from 2016-18.

Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson held the same position in Denver from 2005-06.

Denver tight ends coach Wade Harman entered the NFL as a coaching assistant with Minnesota in 1997 and again was with the Vikings in 1998.

Broncos assistant strength and conditioning coach Cedric Smith was a fifth-round draft pick by Minnesota in 1990.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

Vikings WR Bisi Johnson is a native of Lakewood, Colorado, and spent his collegiate career at Colorado State.

Minnesota offensive line coach/run game coordinator Rick Dennison and quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak also played at Colorado State.

Vikings personnel consultant and former WR Jerry Reichow and Broncos LB Josey Jewell both hail from Decorah, Iowa, and attended Decorah High School. They are the only two players from Decorah to reach the NFL.

COACHING CONNECTIONS

Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Marwan Maalouf spent 2007-09 on the Ravens coaching staff with Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio.

Minnesota linebackers coach Adam Zimmer served on the Chiefs coaching staff with Broncos Special Teams Coordinator Tom McMahon in 2012.

PROFESSIONAL CONNECTIONS

Maalouf was on Miami’s coaching staff while Denver T Ja’Wuan James was on the roster from 2014-18.

Gary Kubiak (2006-13), Dennison (2010-13) and Pariani (2006-13) were on the Texas staff while Broncos DB Kareem Jackson was on the squad (2010-19).

Vikings G Dakota Dozier and Dennison were at the New York Jets with Broncos LB Jeremiah Attaochu in 2018.

Vikings T Rashod Hill with Denver QB Brandon Allen in Denver in 2016.

Minnesota QB Sean Mannion (2015-18) also played with Allen (2017-18) and Broncos CB Coty Sensabaugh (2016) with the Rams.

Vikings C Brett Jones was on the Giants roster with Sensabaugh in 2016.

Minnesota K Dan Bailey played with Denver G Ron Leary in Dallas from 2012-16.

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS

Vikings DT Armon Watts and Allen at Arkansas

Minnesota RB Alexander Mattison and Denver QB Brett Rypien at Boise State

Vikings RB Ameer Abdullah and Broncos FB Andy Janovich at Nebraska

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook and Denver S Trey Marshall and DE DeMarcus Walker at Florida State

Minnesota DT Jaleel Johnson and T Riley Reiff at Iowa with Broncos LS Casey Kreiter, Jewell and TE Noah Fant

Minnesota DE Ifeadi Odenigbo and Denver LB Joseph Jones at Northwestern

Vikings WR Bisi Johnson and Broncos LB Josh Watson at Colorado State

Minnesota G Pat Elflein and DT Jalyn Holmes with Denver TE Jeff Heuerman and Dre’Mont Jones at Ohio State

Vikings CB Kris Boyd and CB Holton Hill with Broncos T Calvin Anderson and FB/TE Andrew Beck at Texas

VIKINGS TOP PERFORMERS VS. BRONCOS

Offense

Stefon Diggs: 1 game (did not start), 6 receptions, 87 yards

Adam Thielen: 1 game (did not start), 6 receptions, 70 yards

Defense

Anthony Barr: 1 game (1 start), 6 tackles (league stats), INT

Eric Kendricks: 1 game (1 start), 4 tackles (league stats), 1.0 sack, 1 TFL

Harrison Smith: 1 games (1 start), 3 tackles (league stats), INT

VIKINGS BIG DAYS VS. BRONCOS

Kirk Cousins (with Washington): 19-of-37 passing for 299 yards with 3 TD (94.3 passer rating) in Washington on Dec. 24, 2017

Kyle Rudolph: 19-yard touchdown reception (second score of career) in Minnesota on Dec. 4, 2011

Stefon Diggs: 6 catches for 87 yards in making professional debut at Denver on Oct. 4, 2015

Anthony Barr: first career interception at Denver on Oct. 4, 2015

Harrison Smith: 11th career interception at Denver on Oct. 4, 2015

Eric Kendricks: made first career start and recorded first career sack on Oct. 4, 2015

VIKINGS-BRONCOS SERIES NOTES

1. Sunday’s game will be the 15th meeting between Denver and Minnesota in the regular season. The series has been remarkably close over the decades. Each team has seven victories. The Vikings have scored 305 points, and the Broncos have scored 316. Nine contests have been decided by four or fewer points, including the past three in a row that have all been three-point wins by Denver.

2. The franchises began play in 1960 (Broncos) and 1961 (Vikings), but the teams didn’t meet for the first time until Oct. 15, 1972. Minnesota recorded a 23-20 comeback win at Mile High Stadium thanks to a 31-yard touchdown pass from Fran Tarkenton to Gene Washington.

3. Minnesota is seeking its first win in the series since Oct. 19, 2003, a day highlighted by Randy Moss’ catch and over-the-head lateral to Moe Williams for a touchdown on the final play of the first half. Lance Johnstone returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown, and Corey Chavous and Brian Russell also intercepted Steve Beuerlein.

Longest Vikings winning streak in series: 2 games (three times, most recently was Oct. 31, 1999 through Oct. 19, 2003)

Longest Vikings losing streak in series: 3 games (Dec. 30, 2007 through Oct. 4, 2015)

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