Panthers Opponent Overview: Minnesota Vikings

The Carolina Panthers hope to come out of the bye week on a high note with a win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Here is an overview of what Panthers fans should know about Carolina's Week 13 opponent.

Minnesota Vikings Season Recap

Record: 4-7 (4th in NFC North)

First year coaches usually struggle in their first season and the situation is much tougher when they have a rookie quarterback under center. The Minnesota Vikings are in that very situation but are also without their Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson, who has been suspended for a majority of the season. The Vikings though have found success against the NFC South this year with two of their four wins coming against the division (Atlanta and Tampa Bay).

 

Minnesota Vikings Offense

Total yards per game: 309 (30th in the NFL)

Passing yards per game: 192.5 (29th in the NFL)

Rushing yards per game: 116.5 (13th in the NFL)

Points per game: 18.4 (27th in the NFL)

The Vikings offense is near the bottom of the league in a number of statistical categories but surprisingly rank in the top half in rushing yards. This year the Vikings have relied on the running back tandem of Jerrick McKinnon and Matt Asista to replace Peterson. McKinnon is more the home run threat averaging 4.8 yards per carry and have a season long run of 55 yards while Asista is more of a grind it out type back averaging 3.3 yards per carry but his longest run all season is only 12 yards.

The passing attack is something that has been less than desirable this season with the Vikings trying out Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder under center before starting the Teddy Bridgewater era. The rookie quarterback has six touchdowns and seven interceptions in eight games played this year. He has played better as of late though throwing five touchdowns to only two interceptions over the past four games.

 

Minnesota Vikings Defense

Total yards given up per game: 342.5 (12th in the NFL)

Passing yards given up per game: 223.5 (7th in the NFL)

Rushing yards given up per game: 118.9 (21st in the NFL)

Points against per game: 22.2 (15th in the NFL)

The Vikings defense is what has kept this organization competitive this season and has given up more than 25 points only twice this season. They have playmakers at every level of the defense with defensive end Everson Griffen (nine sacks this year), rookie Anthony Barr (66 tackles, four sacks) and safety Harrison Smith (62 tackles, four interceptions).

One player Panthers fans are sure to recognize is cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, who started for Carolina last year but left in free agency to join the Vikings. This secondary is solid with no real glaring weakness with Xavier Rhodes at the other cornerback position and Robert Blanton having a strong third season opposite Smith.


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