The Minnesota Vikings are 2-1 heading into Week 4 of the regular season and travel to the Mile High City to take on the Denver Broncos. Traveling into the mountains can make these games a little tricky because players have to take into account the elevation change.
The air is thinner so it can be harder for visitors to catch their breath after any sort of physical activity if they aren’t accustomed to it, especially when they come from a place such as Minnesota where it is an elevation of 869 feet above sea level, compared to Denver, which is 5,130-5,690 feet above sea level, depending on where you are in the city.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has never experienced playing in a place with that kind of altitude so it will be interesting to see how he is able to handle it, especially if he starts to get chased around by the Broncos’ talented defensive ends Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware.
“No I haven’t, and I’m no scientist or anything so I don’t want to look too much into the altitude or anything like that,” Bridgewater said. “Just going to go out there and adjust as the game goes on.”
The quarterback’s laid back and relaxed view on the elevation change seems to be fairly consistent throughout his team. Even his head coach, Mike Zimmer, doesn’t sound worried about the difference.
“First of all, as I told my team, scientifically when you’re out there for 24 hours it really is no factor,” Zimmer said on Monday when asked about the elevation change.
But the high elevation is not the only things that the Vikings have to worry about when they go out to Denver. Like all away games, the Vikings are going to be dealing with a hostile environment, but there is also going to be the pressure to put points on the board consistently throughout the game and to control the clock by extending drives.
They are going up against future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, and if they end up getting in a shooting match between Manning and Bridgewater the Vikings could be in trouble.
Once again, Zimmer isn’t worried about this, though, and believes if they stick to their game plan that everything will turn out.
“It always helps the crowd noise and all of those factors if we move the ball effectively,” Zimmer said. “One of the things (Bridgewater) has done very well is be able to make some plays with his legs, so I think that will probably be important this week. Make sure that we take good care of the football and then we’ll have some opportunities; we have to hit them. Third downs will be big.”
This week will likely be the Vikings most difficult challenge of the season so far. Not only do they have to go up against a future Hall of Fame quarterback and the No. 1 defense in the NFL, but they also have to deal with the change in altitude and a crowd rooting against them.