Green Leads Broncos Over Vikings, 13-6 : Interconference: Former Ram gains 158 yards in second consecutive impressive performance.
Gaston Green continued to run impressively for the Denver Broncos while Minnesota’s much-ballyhooed one-back offense took another huge step backward.
Green, playing in place of all-pro Bobby Humphrey, a contract holdout, rushed for 158 yards in 26 carries Sunday as the Broncos defeated the Vikings, 13-6.
Green, who gained 127 yards and scored three touchdowns last week against San Diego, had seven runs of 11 yards or more against the Vikings.
John Elway scored the go-ahead touchdown for the Broncos on a 17-yard draw play.
“Practically everything we ran worked, even though we weren’t able to get into the end zone,” said Green, who was traded from the Rams in the off-season. “I had some real good holes, and they were easy for me to read.”
“He did just a super job tonight breaking tackles,” Denver Coach Dan Reeves said of Green.
The Broncos, who finished last in the AFC West last year with a 5-11 record, lead the division at 4-1.
Minnesota (2-3), which also was last in 1990 after winning a division title, continued to struggle with its new one-back offense. The Vikings were shut out 26-0 at New Orleans last week and haven’t scored a touchdown in 10 quarters since a 17-14 victory over San Francisco. The Vikings have scored just 49 points in five games.
“I’m satisfied with what we’re doing. We’re just not coming up with the plays when we have to,” Viking Coach Jerry Burns said. “We never stopped Green. He was running wild out there. And, obviously, we’re having a tough time getting the ball in the end zone.”
With the Broncos behind, 6-3, and facing third and eight at Minnesota’s 17 late in the third quarter, Elway ran the draw from a shotgun formation. He bobbled, but controlled, the ball at the line of scrimmage, broke out of Joey Browner’s grasp, ran over Audray McMillian and dove over the goal line at the right flag.
Although Elway has been given the responsibility of calling the plays this season, Reeves called the draw during a time out.
“We caught a blitz and I took off,” said Elway, who completed eight of 22 passes for 82 yards. “I saw Browner and he tried to grab me high, and I was able to get around the corner. After that I saw the end zone and I just tried to get in.”
Said Reeves: “John comes up with a lot of great plays. He does a lot of things that a lot of other great players don’t do. He inspires us. You could just feel the excitement on the sidelines after that play.”
David Treadwell added a 42-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter for a seven-point lead.
Herschel Walker gained 103 yards in 12 carries for the Vikings.
Minnesota quarterback Wade Wilson completed 10 of 21 passes for 101 yards, but he had three passes intercepted, giving him 10 for the season. He was replaced by Rich Gannon with 7:20 left and the Vikings on their own 20 after Carl Lee recovered Greg Lewis’ fumble in the end zone.
Minnesota drove to Denver’s 13 with 43 seconds left, but Gannon’s fourth-and-three pass was dropped by wide-open Hassan Jones at the five.
“We’ve got good receivers,” Burns said. “It seemed like every time I looked up they were dropping balls or they were dropping handkerchiefs.”
Burns said he wants to think about whether Wilson will remain his starting quarterback or whether he’ll go with Gannon. Last season Gannon started 12 games in place of Wilson, who was injured.
Fuad Reveiz’s longest field goal as a Viking, a 49-yarder, gave Minnesota a 3-0 lead. Treadwell tied it on a 37-yarder with 12 seconds left in the half.
Treadwell’s kick was set up by Randy Robbins’ 48-yard interception return. The Vikings had driven to Denver’s 28, mostly on a 49-yard run by Walker. But Robbins intercepted a third-down pass by Wilson and returned it down the left sideline before Wilson pushed him out of bounds.
On the preceding play, an illegal motion penalty on Minnesota tackle Tim Irwin nullified an apparent 23-yard touchdown pass play to Anthony Carter.