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Vikings vs. Broncos: 5 things you can count on

The Vikings will look for their sixth straight win when they face the Broncos on Sunday night.
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The Minnesota Vikings play under the lights as they face the Denver Broncos on Sunday night. Both teams enter the game riding winning streaks as the Vikings are 6-4 with a five-game streak and the Broncos are 4-5 with a three-game streak. Here's what you can count on... 

1. One more week for Justin Jefferson

Vikings fans are as eager for Jefferson's return as they are to open their presents from Santa Claus, but they'll have to wait one more week for the star receiver to return from a hamstring injury.

The Vikings opened Jefferson's 21-day practice window nearly two weeks ago as he looks to come off injured reserve but he has yet to log a full practice after suffering his injury late in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 8.

With the Vikings looking to exercise caution, Jefferson will sit out Sunday's game against the Broncos but could be ready to return for next week's matchup against the Chicago Bears. The latest Minnesota can activate him from IR is Nov. 29, which comes after the game against the Raiders and during the bye week so it's possible he misses one more game. 

2. The Broncos offense being anemic

The Broncos are at a high-water mark coming into Sunday's game but it has very little to do with their offense. While Denver has won three straight, they haven't experienced an offensive explosion with an average of 22 points over the streak.

While that number is respectable, Denver has had room for more as they have had an average starting field position of their own 43-yard line. According toThe Athletic's Nick Kosmider, the next closest team since Week 8 has been the Baltimore Ravens, who have an average starting position of their own 34-yard line.

With a passing offense that averages 184.6 yards per game, the Broncos don't have the explosiveness to challenge Brian Flores's defense.

3. Pre-snap penalties for Denver

Another reason for Denver's offensive struggles is their tendency to shoot themselves in the foot.

Kosmider pointed out that the Broncos have committed a pre-snap penalty on 3.2 percent of their offensive plays, which is the highest rate in the NFL. Their biggest issue has been false starts and has been fueled by Mike McGlinchey, whose six false starts are tied for the league lead with Carolina's Ikem Ekwonu.

With the Broncos tied for sixth with 64 penalties this season, there's a good chance that the Vikings will have some help slowing down Denver's offense.

4. Attacking Denver with the run

The Vikings running game ranks 29th in the NFL with just over 85 rushing yards per game but Sunday could be a get-right game against one of the worst run defenses in the league.

Denver's running game ranks last in the league with 158.3 rushing yards per game and they coughed up 376 yards during an infamous 70-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 24. While the Broncos have improved since then, they also allowed 192 yards in last week's win over the Buffalo Bills.

The Vikings are expected to have Alexander Mattison back after he suffered a concussion against the New Orleans Saints last week but this could be a big game for Ty Chandler, who has the speed to turn a small mistake into a big gain.

With Josh Dobbs also adding an element as a dual-threat quarterback, the Vikings could get their ground game going on Sunday night.

5. A sixth straight win for the Vikings

The Vikings' turnaround has been stunning and they have the signs of a team that is getting better every week.

Dobbs has stabilized the quarterback position for now and the Vikings weapons and offensive line have reached another level at the midway point of the season. With the defense improving, the Vikings feel like they have plenty of staying power, which is something you can't say about Denver.

The Broncos have a +8 turnover margin in their last three games, but they feel like a team that could fall off at any moment. If that trend continues, the Vikings should be able to come away with a win and build momentum ahead of next week's Monday night matchup with the Bears.

Prediction: Vikings 24, Broncos 17