Vikings-Broncos Preseason Week 1: Interesting Quarterback Dynamic

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 12:17 PM UTC

Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018 12:17 PM UTC

The two new starting quarterbacks will be the storyline when the Vikings and Broncos open the preseason against one another Saturday night from Denver.

Preseason Week 1: Minnesota at DenverSaturday, 9 p.m. ET (NFL Network)Free NFL Picks: Under & BroncosBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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The first week of the NFL preseason features two games on Saturday to close things out, and the marquee matchup is Vikings at Broncos with the NFL Network having the national telecast.

The clear storyline for this one is the two new starting quarterbacks on each side, Kirk Cousins for Minnesota and Case Keenum for Denver. Both should play a series (maybe two) with the rest of the first team before all the starters take a seat.

Keenum had been a journeyman backup for much of his career but blew up last year as the starter with the Vikings once Sam Bradford went down to his usual injury issues. Keenum played in 15 regular-season games (Bradford started only the opener, where he was hurt) and completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 3,547 yards, 22 scores and seven picks – a rating of 98.3. Those are fine numbers. Keenum also threw one of the most memorable touchdown passes in NFL history in the miracle victory over the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Alas, Keenum struggled in the NFC title game blowout loss in Philadelphia.

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Getting ready for Game #1. #VikingsCamp

— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) August 7, 2018

The Vikings never even attempted to re-sign Keenum this offseason, instead focusing all their attention on Cousins. Minnesota was the first team that the former Washington Redskin visited – the Broncos were definitely interested too – and he signed a historic three-year, $84 million deal. Historic because it was fully guaranteed, which never happens in the NFL. Cousins has been one of the NFL's Top 10 quarterbacks since 2015, measuring third in completion percentage and game-winning drives.

When Denver lost out on Cousins, it turned its attention to Keenum, signing him to a two-year deal. No one really thinks he’s the long-term future in Denver, but the team passed on taking a quarterback with the No. 5 overall pick in this year’s draft, instead selecting NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb.

One thing to watch in preseason is the Broncos’ running back situation as the starting job is up for grabs between Devontae Booker, rookie Royce Freeman, De'Angelo Henderson and Phillip Lindsay. Meanwhile, Saturday could see Vikings running back Dalvin Cook return to the field. He was lost after just four games last season as a promising rookie to a torn ACL. Cook has been a full participant in camp but it’s not 100 percent he sees action this week. The Vikings’ offensive line is a bit thin right now with three starters out in Pat Elflein (PUP list), Mike Remmers (ankle) and Nick Easton (undisclosed).

Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer has been a spectacular preseason bet as he 14-3 straight-up and 12-5 ATS. Broncos coach Vance Joseph is on the hot seat in his second year after the Broncos flopped to 5-11 last year – the team hasn’t had back-to-back losing seasons since the early 1970s. Joseph was 4-0 SU and 3-0-1 ATS in the 2017 preseason, though. We like the under for a Saturday NFL pick and a smaller lean to the home side.

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