The Denver Broncos currently have the No. 1 defense in the NFL and a big reason they have had so much success through the first three weeks of the regular season is because of what they have been able to do against the pass. Their opponents are averaging a league-low 176.3 passing yards a game.
Opponents’ quarterbacks are also under siege for most of the day as the Broncos defense already has 11 sacks this season and features two of the league’s best pass rushers in DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller.
The Vikings know that it is going to be important for them to neutralize the Broncos pass rush early, and to do that they know they need to be physical.
“These guys are not easy to block up front, so when you are manned on you’ve just to man up and do your job and block your guy,” offensive guard Brandon Fusco said. “Really it’s all about attitude this game and that’s what we have to bring to win.
“That’s what it has to be this week. We’re a physical group and you have to be every week. It starts up front with us and we got to set the tempo for the whole game.”
In the last two games the Vikings have played in, they have done a good job and dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and they want to continue to do that as they head out west to take on the Broncos.
Adrian Peterson has recorded back-to-back 100-yard games and the offense knows that their best chance to win the game is to get him going once again. If they are able to wear the defense out with the run, the Broncos pass rush will not be as potent and things should begin to open up in the passing game.
“The run game is definitely important and something we emphasize,” said fullback Zach Line. “The last thing a defense wants is to get the ball run right down the field, so it’s definitely something we try to establish. We try to find plays that are working and throw out the plays that aren’t and just keep feeding Adrian the ball on the plays that work.”
There is a good chance that the Vikings will be able to get Peterson going early against the Broncos. The only other elite back that the Broncos have faced was Jamaal Charles in Week 2 and he recorded 21 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown.
If it weren’t for a couple fumbles by Charles, including one at the end of the game, the Kansas City Chiefs likely would have won the game. So as long as Peterson is able to hold onto the ball, he could have another big game on the ground.
If the Vikings have another good day running the ball, it puts the offense closer to accomplishing its goal: be the more physical team. From the first snap, they want to dominate the Broncos defense.
“Just punch them in the mouth before they punch us,” running back Matt Asiata said. “Be the hammer not the nail. Just have to come out and play physical ball like we did the last two weeks and go from there.”