Lock directs two touchdown drives; Surtain’s pick-six helps Broncos to 33-6 win over Vikings

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Broncos linebacker Von Miller awaits the start of his team’s first preseason game of 2021 against the Minnesota Vikings. (Picture courtesy: Dave Althouse)

MINNEAPOLIS (KXRM) — Drew Lock passed for two touchdowns, Patrick Surtain II returned an interception for a touchdown, and Teddy Bridgewater added a touchdown pass to help the Denver Broncos to a 33-6 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the two teams’ first preseason game.

The Broncos defense forced the Vikings offense to go three-and-out on their first possession with Jake Browning as their starting quarterback. Minnesota’s usual starter Kirk Cousins did not play.

The first two offensive plays for Denver went to Javonte Williams, who ran for 13 and 11 yards, respectively. Drew Lock then completed a play-action pass to K.J. Hamler for 25 yards to set up the Broncos in the red zone.

Williams appeared to get the Broncos on the board with a 4-yard touchdown run on 3rd and short, but Jerry Jeudy was called for holding. After picking up nine yards on the ensuing screen pass, Denver kept the offense on the field on fourth down.

On 4th and 2, Jeudy created slight separation from Vikings cornerback Kris Boyd on a slant route, but Lock’s pass was a little behind, allowing Boyd to knock the ball away.

Two plays after the turnover on downs, Denver defensive lineman Shamar Stephen forced a holding in the end zone, resulting in a safety and the first two points of the game.

Lock bounced back with a perfect deep ball to K.J. Hamler, who zoomed past the Vikings secondary for an 80-yard touchdown to put the Broncos up 9-0.

On the following defensive possession, the Broncos held the Vikings to a 34-yard field goal.

On the first play of the second quarter, Denver converted a 3rd and 5 after getting the ball into the hands of Jeudy, who used his quickness to juke around a defender and pick up 32 yards. That play was followed up by Royce Freeman, who broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage before picking up 18 yards.

Lock finished off the drive with a 4-yard play-action touchdown pass to Trinity Benson. The third-year quarterback completed 5-of-7 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns before handing off the snaps to Teddy Bridgewater.

The offense appeared more methodical with Bridgewater under center, but it was just as effective getting up field. The newest Denver quarterback’s touchdown run was wiped out by an illegal hands to the face penalty on Cam Fleming, and the Broncos settled for a 29-yard field goal from Brandon McManus.

If the first half wasn’t great enough, the opening kickoff was yet another good wrinkle for the Broncos when LeVante Bellamy picked up a 62-yard return to set Denver up at the Minnesota 40-yard line.

Bridgewater then fired a 17-yard pass to Benson, whose in-route allowed him and the Broncos to set up 1st and goal. Moments later, Bridgewater dropped a perfect pass in the corner of the end zone to Benson for a 4-yard touchdown to give Denver a 33-6 lead.

Bridgewater gave way to Brett Rypien after completing 7-of-9 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown.

Minnesota’s best chance for a touchdown came late in the third quarter. On 4th & goal, Kellen Mond’s pass to Whop Philyor was close to being completed in the back of the end zone, but rookie safety Caden Stearns knocked the ball free.

***INJURY NOTES***

Broncos safety Trey Marshall walked off the field under his own power after suffering a right ankle injury on the opening kickoff.

Broncos running back Levante Bellamy left the game with a right ankle injury.

Broncos safety P.J. Locke briefly left the game in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury but later returned.

***MINNESOTA VIKINGS NOT EXPECTED TO PLAY***

Patrick Peterson, Kirk Cousins, Sheldon Richardson, Chad Beebe, Blake Proehl, Nate Stanley, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Bashaud Breeland, Harrison Smith, Xavier Woods, Mackensie Alexander, Alexander Mattison, C.J. Ham, Dalvin Cook, Blake Lynch, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, Garrett Bradbury, Nick Vigil, Rashod Hill, Christian Darrisaw, Ezra Cleveland, Olisaemeka Udoh, Brian O’Neill, Tyler Conklin, Irv Smith Jr., Dede Westbrook, Dalvin Tomlinson, Michael Pierce, Danielle Hunter

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