By Zack Kelberman
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (247Sports)– Out-of-market Denver Broncos fans are in luck this summer.
NFL Media announced that, as part of their television schedule, the Broncos’ preseason opener on Saturday, Aug. 11 versus the Minnesota Vikings and finale against the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday, Aug. 30 will be broadcast nationally on NFL Network.
The Week 1 exhibition affair is rife with quarterback storylines, as the clubs essentially swapped signal-callers this offseason — Case Keenum to Denver and Trevor Siemian to Minnesota (via trade). This also will be the Vikings debut of $90 million man Kirk Cousins, whom the Broncos loosely courted in free agency, and the return of former Broncos undrafted free agent pickup Kyle Sloter.
Beyond that, this marks the debut of several Broncos players, such as Keenum, rookies Bradley Chubb, Courtland Sutton and Royce Freeman, new right tackle Jared Veldheer (if he suits up), former All-Pro punter Marquette King and free-agent additions Tramaine Brock and Clinton McDonald (if he suits up). It’s also a continuation of open offensive roster battles, including at backup QB, running back and wide receiver. Starters should play for about a quarter before being yanked.
Kickoff from Broncos Stadium at Mile High, as it’s now known, is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. MT.
From there, Denver stays put to host the Chicago Bears in Week 2, on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 7:05 p.m. MT. The teams, who will practice jointly prior to this tilt, faced each other in the 2017 preseason opener; the Broncos won, 24-17.
The Broncos’ first road contest on Friday, Aug. 24 will take them to the nation’s capital for a meeting with the Washington Redskins in the regular season dress rehearsal, where each club’s starters and key contributors play into the third quarter. Not only is this the closest simulation to games that actually, you know, count, the Redskins are trotting out new QB Alex Smith, a longtime Denver foe with the Kansas City Chiefs. Additionally, this marks a revenge game of sorts for Broncos safety Su’a Cravens, whom they acquired from Washington.
To wrap things up, mercifully, the Broncos conclude preseason play with their seemingly annual finale in Arizona against the Cardinals, who, interestingly enough, they will also meet during the regular season. This is considered a showcase for bottom-of-the-roster types fighting for their jobs ahead of cutdown day. Don’t expect to see Keenum or … well, any key players in the desert.
The Denver Broncos complete 2018 schedule:
PRESEASON WEEK 1: Aug. 11 vs. Minnesota Vikings
PRESEASON WEEK 2: Saturday, Aug. 18 vs. Chicago Bears
PRESEASON WEEK 3: Aug. 24 @ Washington Redskins
PRESEASON WEEK 4: Aug. 30 @ Arizona Cardinals
WEEK 1 vs. Seattle Seahawks
WEEK 2 vs. Oakland Raiders
WEEK 3 @ Baltimore Ravens
WEEK 4 vs. Kansas City Chiefs
WEEK 5 @ New York Jets
WEEK 6 vs. St. Louis Rams
WEEK 7 @ Arizona Cardinals
WEEK 8 @ Kansas City Chiefs
WEEK 9 vs. Houston Texans
WEEK 10 BYE
WEEK 11 @ Los Angeles Chargers
WEEK 12 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
WEEK 13 @ Cincinnati Bengals
WEEK 14 @ San Francisco 49ers
WEEK 15 vs. Cleveland Browns
WEEK 16 @ Oakland Raiders
WEEK 17 vs. Los Angeles Chargers