Peyton throws late pick, Vikings draw within three at half

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The first half was a slog for the Vikings offense for the first 19-plus minutes, but a late mistake by Peyton Manning allowed the Vikings to head to the half with some momentum.

Anthony Barr stepped in front of a pass intended for Andre Caldwell and returned it into Denver territory to give Teddy Bridgewater a chance to put some points on the board before halftime. Bridgewater’s day had been a shaky one to that point, but he hit Mike Wallace on consecutive plays with a touchdown coming on the second to cut the Denver lead to 13-10 after two quarters.

Bridgewater was sacked three times and pressured many others during the first half, but he was able to make enough plays to keep possession of the ball for nearly 20 minutes. Adrian Peterson never got on track, running 10 times for 28 yards, which put more pressure on Bridgewater to carry the offensive load. He finished the half 14-of-26 for 138 yards and made some nice connections with rookie Stefon Diggs in Diggs’s NFL debut.

Manning’s interception ended a shaky half for him as well. He was sacked twice while moving the Broncos to two field goals and got to stand and watch as Ronnie Hillman sprinted 72 yards for the only Broncos touchdown of the half. They’ll need to sustain their drives a bit longer in the second half and hold onto the ball when they do have it if they’re going to avoid asking too much of their defense down the stretch on Sunday.