Winners and Losers of the Broncos’ 23-13 Victory Over the Vikings

The Denver Broncos closed their preseason last night with a 23-13 win over the Minnesota Vikings. It was a strong performance from the team after their disappointing loss to the Buffalo Bills last week.

Unlike last week, I have quite a few winners for the Broncos after a solid performance, while I only have a handful of losers.

winners

Run Back, Mike Boone

The Broncos third-string running back came out last night and showed the coaches why he wears something during the regular season as well.

Boone looked like the best player on the field for the second straight game, finishing the night with 5 carries for 54 yards, an impressive 8.8 yards per carry and 2 receptions for 7 yards.

Boone finished the preseason strong and so did the Broncos’ general run. After being pretty anemic for the first two games of the preseason, they were rushing a total of 148 yards last night. So hopefully this is a sign of things to come once Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon take the field in two weeks vs. Seattle Seahawks.

Safety, Delarrin Turner-Yell

The rookie played his best game tonight, showing the Broncos coaches that he deserves a spot on the 53-man roster.

The rookie safety flew around hitting people in this game and even had an almost impressive hit that would have denied a touchdown on the 4th and the goal. It was later judged that the ball had gone through the plane, but it was still an impressive Turner-Yell player.

He then made another big play on the 4th and the goal when he fired Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond to force a turnover on downs. The Broncos rookie is battling for fifth safety on the roster behind Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson, Caden Sterns and PJ Locke.

Defense Lineman, McTelvin Agim

The former third-round pick had one of his best ever games, possibly helping himself make the Broncos’ 53-man roster.

Agim had multiple pass deflections, just as former Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris had a sack and was just all over the field, as Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett said after the game.

The depth of the Broncos’ defenses isn’t great after DJ and Dre’Mont Jones, so Agim playing well makes you feel a little better about that. I’m not sure if Agim’s place on the roster is secure, but a match like this certainly doesn’t affect his chances of getting on the list.

Edge Rusher, Nik Bonitto

One player who needed a strong finish to the preseason was Nik Bonitto, the second round. The rookie edge rusher had an up-and-down start to his NFL career, but he finished the preseason strong.

He demonstrated his explosiveness, pass-rushing moves and ability to throw blockers and get to the passer-by. Bonitto ended the night with 2 sacks, a forced fumble and multiple pressings.

Bonitto is probably the fourth or fifth edge rusher on the team, so he still has time to develop. Tonight, however, he showed why the Broncos were high on him and what he could potentially bring to the Broncos’ defense in the future.

Wide receiver, Seth Williams

The Broncos’ wide receiver did well in the preseason finale and helped make his case for a spot on the 53-man roster.

He caught four balls for 68 yards, including a deep ball from quarterback Brett Rypien that found Williams wide open in the field. Williams had to make a nice catch to get to the ball and was also able to get some YAC after the game.

Williams looks on the outside looking for a place on the list, but this achievement could help him get a place on the list in the Broncos or with another team. If not, he looks destined for a spot on the Broncos’ 16-man practice squad.

Wide receiver KJ Hamler

After a lengthy rehabilitation process for wide receiver KJ Hamler, he returned to the field for the first time since suffering a torn ACL and hip injury early last season.

He finished the night with 3 catches for 18 yards. A pretty uninteresting stat line, but that’s not what matters. Hamler looked fast, made cuts, took a few hits and, most importantly, came out of the game healthy.

We’ll likely see Hamler lining up as the starter against the Seahawks and possibly making some big splashing plays with quarterback Russell Wilson tossing him the ball.

losers

Quarterbacks Brett Rypien and Josh Johnson

I’m not sure if either of them are really “losers” after last night’s game, but neither looked really great. Rypien did have some nice rides but an interception in the end zone really soured his night. He did lead a touchdown drive that ended with Montrell Washington ending the end zone, but it was a fairly pedestrian night for the Broncos quarterback.

As for Josh Johnson, he didn’t really do much in the second half. My confidence in both solid backup quarterbacks for the Broncos is pretty low. I wouldn’t be shocked if neither of these two make it into the roster when a better option becomes available.

Wide receiver, Brandon Johnson

The unwritten rookie appears to be locked in for a spot on the roster, but unfortunately suffered a high ankle sprain during the first game of the match.

The severity of the ankle sprain is unknown, but high ankle sprains are troublesome injuries that can sideline you longer than the original diagnosis.

This sucks for Johnson as he looks locked up for a spot on the list, but this injury derails that a bit. It seems unlikely this will be a long-term injury, but the Broncos may choose to put him on the injured reserve and keep another recipient on the roster while Johnson heals.

In the end, it’s always a shame that a player who is somewhat on the roster bubble sustains an injury during the preseason finals.

Broad receiver, Jalen Virgil

Undrafted wide receiver Jalen Virgil has a nice stat line, but a few mistakes, and when he came into play, I included him here.

He started the game with a muffled kick-off return that sent the Broncos deep into their territory. Later, he had an offensive pass interference in the red zone that pushed the Broncos back from being inside the 1-yard line.

Virgil also didn’t come in until the third quarter and appeared on the depth chart behind Montrell Washington, Brandon Johnson and Seth Williams. So this seems to indicate that Virgil is a strong contender for a spot on the practice squad, but unlikely for a spot on the 53-man roster.

Long Snapper, Jacob Bobenmoyer

It’s never good for the long snapper to be spotted in a game, and that happened last night. He had a few off-target snaps and then carried a punt into the end zone, triggering a touchback instead of knocking the ball down inside the five-yard line

This is notable because the Broncos worked out several long snappers during Training Camp and were able to look for a replacement again during the cut-down period.

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