1. Way too cute, KO
The Vikings have had 11 opening possessions. They've now turned the ball over five times, leading to 20 points after Denver kicked a field goal Sunday. Josh Dobbs' fumble — off coach Kevin O'Connell's too-cute decision to have tight end T.J. Hockenson take a direct snap and pitch the ball to Dobbs on third-and-1, exposing the QB to more unconfused defenders in the box — came on the play's third snap. The Vikings' average opening drive: five plays, 28 yards, one first down! Besides the turnovers, they've punted three times, including two three-and-outs and a four-play drive, missed a field goal and posted only six points on two field goals. Not. Good. Enough.
2. Denver 'D' better than worst
The Denver defense that allowed Miami to score 70 in Week 3 was leading the league in scoring defense since Week 7 (16.0). Sunday's first-quarter takeaway gave the Broncos 10 in their past nine quarters. The Vikings had only 10 first-half points, but the Packers, Chiefs and Bills combined for 14 against Denver the previous three games. So forget the stats. This defense isn't terrible, as the numbers suggested. Dobbs' off-script strengths helped the Vikings convert five of nine first-half third downs and take a 17-9 lead on a 10-yard scramble up the middle on third-and-8. At that point, the Broncos were 0-for-6 on third down.
3. Struggling Wilson still wins
Vikings nemesis Russell Wilson faced the Vikings for the first time as a Bronco after going 7-1 against them as a Seahawk. His first seven third downs on Sunday went this way: Three completions in seven attempts for 20 yards and no first downs. Denver's first third-down conversion didn't come until Wilson gained 2 yards on a third-and-1 sneak on the final play of the third quarter. In typical Wilson-vs.-Vikings fashion, Russ did cook on the game-winning drive, though. A 13-yard pass on fourth-and-3 was followed by a 7-yard completion on third-and-four. Wilson's final third-down passing totals: four of eight for 27 yards and one very important first down.
4. Eye on the ball, NaJee
Denver's Marvin Mims Jr., a rookie second-round pick, was leading the league in punt returns (20.7) and kick returns (33.6). The Vikings gave Mims no kickoffs to return and contained him as a punt returner. But rookie gunner NaJee Thompson botched two makeable plays that resulted in Ryan Wright punts of 48 and 47 yards bouncing near the goal line and ending up as touchbacks. Thompson was in the end zone moving away from the ball on one. The punt team did, however, have one of the biggest plays of the game — a 31-yard run by Ty Chandler on a fake. It led to a field goal and a 20-15 lead.
5. Pressure, but more sacks, please
NFL sack leader Danielle Hunter had another sack. But he wasn't the only defender harassing Wilson on Sunday. Pat Jones Jr. pressured Wilson into a throwaway on a three-man rush on third-and-3. D.J. Wonnum had a sack on third-and-6 from the Vikings' 17 that held Denver to a field goal. And No. 3 safety Theo Jackson had a great pressure up the middle that caused an incompletion on third-and-goal from the 10 in the fourth quarter. But … Wilson was sacked only twice after being sacked 11 times in Denver's previous three games. Wilson's game-winning touchdown pass with 1:03 left was his seventh in the last four games vs. no interceptions.