3 Storylines for Vikings-Broncos

Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell celebrates with quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) after a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend, the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos will meet in primetime matchup on Sunday Night Football.

Both teams have been playing excellent football in recent weeks, and they have emerged from the bottom of their conferences to become potential playoff contenders.

With the game now less than 36 hours away, here are 3 storylines to keep an eye on as the matchup unfolds.

Two Winning Streaks Clash

3 Storylines for Vikings-Broncos
Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) warms up before the game against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Both the Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings come into the weekend as two of the hottest teams in the NFL. Minnesota is riding a five-game winning streak while Denver has caught fire in recent weeks to come up with three consecutive victories of their own.

As a result, of these streaks, the Vikings now hold firm command of the No. 7 seed in the NFC and have an opportunity to move even higher in the standings if they can keep things rolling. The Broncos are still 4-5 and a game out of the playoff hunt, but with the Browns and Steelers facing off and the Houston Texans playing against the Kyler Murray-led Cardinals, a victory could pull them closer to the hunt.

Dalton Risner’s Return to Denver

Aug 29, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos offensive tackle Dalton Risner (66) in the third quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Towards the beginning of the season, Minnesota made the decision to bring in Dalton Risner and add more depth to their offensive line. Since then, he has hopped into the starting lineup, and his position at left guard was solidified after the Vikings traded away Ezra Cleveland.

Prior to his current stint in Minnesota, though, Risner began his NFL career with the Broncos. He was selected in the second round of the 2019 Draft and appeared in 62 games, starting each and every one of them. Now, for the first time since leaving the Broncos, the left guard is set to return to Denver.

Young Vikings with a Chance to Shine

Aug 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mekhi Blackmon (11) and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) talk during warmups prior to the game at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings ruled out CB Akayleb Evans for Week 11’s game against the Broncos due to a calf injury. RB Alexander Mattison is also listed as questionable following the concussion he suffered during Week 10’s contest against the Saints.

This opens up a chance for a few young Vikings to step up on Sunday night. Both Mekhi Blackmon and Andrew Booth have played quality snaps at the cornerback spot this year, and now, the Vikings will need them more than ever without Evans in the lineup.

On the other side, it would be a bit surprising to see Mattison on the field considering how the Vikings have treated concussions this year (Jaren Hall, K.J. Osborn), so Ty Chandler could see his carries increase once again. Las weekend, the second-year RB totaled 15 carries for 45 yards and his first NFL touchdown.

In order to get a win, the Vikings will need their young depth pieces to step up and play well.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.