Vikings’ Comeback Effort Falls Short In Denver

Stefon Diggs a #1 receiver
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T.J. Ward’s sack and forced fumble with 35 seconds to play foiled the Vikings fourth quarter comeback allowing the Broncos to stay unbeaten with a 23-20 victory at Mile High Stadium on Sunday.

Denver’s number one ranked defense looked stellar once again especially in the pass rush department. Teddy Bridgewater was sacked seven times and hurried almost every time he dropped back as Denver brought pressure via the blitz from safeties and linebackers for most of the contest.

Teddy Bridgewater played his heart out against a very quick and talented defense. Bridgewater was 27-of-41 for 269 yards while looking calm and in control under extreme duress. Mike Wallace was his favorite target on the day with eight receptions for 83 yards and one touchdown. Stefon Diggs making his NFL debut looked like a star in the making with six catches for 87 yards. Adam Thielen also played well getting open quickly to grab six throws for 70 yards.

Adrian Peterson was held in check for most of the day until he broke loose with a 48-yard TD rip right up the middle on fourth-and-1 with 10:09 to play cutting the score to 20-17. Peterson finished with 16 carries for 81 yards and one score.

Three plays after Peterson’s big run cut the score to just 3 points, Harrison Smith intercepted Peyton Manning at the Vikings 47 yard line which set up a Blair Walsh 33-yard field goal to tie the game at 20-20.

With 5:11 to play, Manning led Denver on a 10 play 3:20 drive that ended with the eventual game winning 39-yard field goal by Brandon McManus.

Anthony Barr led the Vikings defense with six tackles and an interception. The Vikings defense in their own right made Payton Manning look human by picking him off twice, sacking him twice and containing him to 17-of-27 for 213 yards.  Barr’s 23-yard return on his first career interception helped set up a Mike Wallace 4-yard touchdown completion late in the first half.

The Vikings’ offense struggled with the overall speed of the Denver defense in first half, but this Mike Zimmer led team proved they can fight and compete with any team in the league.

The biggest disappointments of the game were a missed Blair Walsh 38-yard field goal early in the second quarter, and a Ronnie Hillman 72-yard touchdown run on the very next play that gave the Bronco’s a 10-0 advantage.