Here's a key matchup to watch in Sunday's Vikings-Broncos game from the Metrodome.
Broncos LB Von Miller vs. Vikings ORT Phil Loadholt
Lost in the constant chatter about QB Tim Tebow has been the outstanding play of the Broncos' defense, led by their first-round pick Miller. Playing as a 4-3 outside linebacker, Miller has been a pass-rushing force, already recording 10½ sacks and three forced fumbles. He's been playing especially well of late, recording four sacks in the last three games.
Miller rushes in virtually every passing situation and gets stronger as the game wears on, getting 7½ of his sacks this season in the second half.
It will be a huge challenge for Loadholt to keep Miller away from QB Christian Ponder. Miller has excellent burst and is able to get around opposing tackles with the speed rush. However, he also uses the spin move effectively, as well, using his speed to push the tackle up the field, before spinning back inside and getting free to chase the quarterback.
Loadholt will need to have his best game in a season marred by inconsistency. Otherwise, Ponder will be under constant pressure.