Charlotte, NC - Should the Panthers win Sunday, it will be the first 3-0 start since – you guessed it – 1996.
Minnesota, like Carolina, is undergoing a change a kicker. The Vikings re-signed Gary Anderson, the NFL's all-time leading scorer, to replace Doug Brien. The Panthers have brought in Jon Hilbert to fill in for the injured John Kasay.
The Panthers and Vikings have met four times, with the Vikings leading the series 3-1. All meetings, including Sunday's game, have been in Minnesota.
The Vikings enter the game with the 5th ranked offense in the NFL, providing the stiffest test for Carolina's 2nd ranked defense (9th against the rush, 3rd against the pass). The Vikings are 2nd in rush offense and 15th in passing.
On the other hand, the Vikings have the 30th ranked defense to go against Carolina's 17th ranked offense (16th in rushing, 17th in passing). Minnesota's strength is stopping the run (3rd rank) and they are weak against the pass (32nd rank).
To prepare the team for the deafening noise of the Metrodome, John Fox had the team practice to the simulated sounds of aircraft.
While the Vikings offensive line is stout running the ball, they have given up six sacks already. The Panthers defensive line has eight sacks so far. This could be the match-up to watch.
Both of Minnesota's losses have been high-scoring, close affairs, with last week's game going to overtime. Carolina would most likely love to revert to week one's ball-control style.
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