The Vikings went toe-to-toe with the Broncos, but a furious comeback attempt fell shy of the summit in Denver Sunday.
Minnesota lost 23-20 after battling back from a 10-point deficit they faced at the start of the fourth quarter.
T.J. Ward forced a fumble by Teddy Bridgewater at the Minnesota 42 that was recovered by Von Miller with 29 seconds remaining to end the Vikings shot at a potential field goal.
Bridgewater finished 27-of-41 passing for 269 yards with one touchdown, but was sacked seven times. He had led a drive that tied the game at 20 with a 33-yard field goal by Blair Walsh with 5:11 to play. That possession was set up by an interception that Harrison Smith made against Peyton Manning.
The pick, the 11th of Smith's career and first of the season, occurred on Denver's second snap that followed a 48-yard touchdown run by Adrian Peterson on a fourth-and-1 play.
The Vikings also picked off Manning in the first half.
Anthony Barr's first career interception set up Mike Wallace's first touchdown catch as a Viking. Barr broke on a ball intended for Andre Caldwell at the Minnesota 41 and returned it 32 yards.
After an illegal substitution penalty against the Broncos, Bridgewater hit Wallace for a gain of 18 along the Broncos sideline. The Vikings put Wallace on the right side of the formation on the next play and had him cut across the end zone. He was wide open when Bridgewater found him for the 4-yard score that made it 13-10 Broncos at the break.
Wallace finished eight catches for 83 yards.
Eric Kendricks made his first NFL start as the Vikings opened in the nickel package. Kendricks joined Barr at linebacker. Kendricks also recorded his first career sack when he applied pressure on a delayed blitz. Manning saw Kendricks charging and hit the deck before taking much of a wallop from Kendricks.
Stefon Diggs was active for the first time this season and made an impact. Diggs had six catches for 87 yards, including a pair of 25-yard gains.
Denver took a 20-10 lead on its first possession of the third quarter by converting a fourth-and-1 of its own. Linval Joseph had made a tackle for no gain on third, but the Broncos went for it by crossing Daniels from right to left behind the offensive line to free him up for an easy pitch and catch.
The Broncos scored their first touchdown on a 72-yard run by Ronnie Hillman for a 10-0 lead in the second quarter a play after a miss of a 38-yard field goal by Walsh.