Vikings-Panthers game scout

Get the weekend schedule, keys to the Vikings-Panthers game, fast facts and notes from both camps.

Dallas Cowboys (8-5) at New Orleans Saints (13-0)
Arizona Cardinals (8-5) at Detroit Lions (2-11)
Cleveland Browns (2-11) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-10)
San Francisco 49ers (6-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-4)
Chicago Bears (5-8) at Baltimore Ravens (7-6)
New England Patriots (8-5) at Buffalo Bills (5-8)
Miami Dolphins (7-6) at Tennessee Titans (6-7)
Houston Texans (6-7) at St. Louis Rams (1-12)
Atlanta Falcons (6-7) at New York Jets (7-6)
Oakland Raiders (4-9) at Denver Broncos (8-5)
Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) at San Diego Chargers (10-3)
Green Bay Packers (9-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-12) at Seattle Seahawks (5-8)
Minnesota Vikings (11-2) at Carolina Panthers (5-8)
New York Giants (7-6) at Washington Redskins (4-9)

Minnesota Vikings (11-2) at Carolina Panthers (5-8)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 8:20 ET
GAMEDATE: 12/20/09
TV: NBC (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Andrea Kremer)


To be competitive the Panthers have to hold their own in the trenches. It starts with getting strong run-blocking in front of RBs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart so Carolina can control the ball. QB Matt Moore won't take many chances deep downfield, so the Panthers likely will have to string together long drives in order to score. Minnesota got back to featuring RB Adrian Peterson last Sunday, letting its big offensive line take over. The Panthers give up 137.3 rushing yards per game and are far stronger defending the pass, so the Vikings would be wise to set up effective play-action for QB Brett Favre.


  • Vikings WR/KR Percy Harvin leads all rookies with eight touchdowns.

  • Carolina's defense has forced 21 turnovers the past seven games.


  • WR Percy Harvin needs only 15 rushing yards to break the team record for the most rushing yards by a rookie wide receiver. Bob Grim had 127 in 1971.

  • QB Brett Favre will move into sole possession of the Vikings' record for the most games in a single season without an interception if he does not throw a pick Sunday. Favre has eight games without an interception, which is tied with Daunte Culpepper (2004) and Warren Moon (1995) for the most.

  • G Steve Hutchinson will move into a fourth-place tie for the most consecutive starts in team history by a guard Sunday. Hutchinson has started 61 consecutive games since joining the Vikings in 2006.

  • The Vikings first played in Charlotte in a 1965 preseason contest against the Washington Redskins, winning 20-16. The Vikings also played the New York Jets in Winston Salem during the 1969 preseason.

  • K Ryan Longwell kicked a 19-yard field goal in overtime to give the Vikings a 16-13 victory on Sept. 17, 2006, against the Panthers. Longwell also played a key role in the Vikings tying the score at 13, throwing a 16-yard pass to Richard Owens in the fourth quarter on a fake field-goal attempt. Longwell made three field goals that day and was named NFC special teams player of the week.

  • Chester Taylor needs 52 yards rushing to break into the top 10 for running backs in Vikings history. Taylor has 2,744 yards as a Viking, trailing Terry Allen's 2,795 yards for 10th place.


  • The stat sheet showed Julius Peppers had no tackles, no sacks and one quarterback pressure against the Patriots. And yet, Fox came to Peppers' defense on Monday by saying, "I thought Julius rushed the passer well. He had about five quarterback hurries. (The Patriots') passing game gets rid of the ball fast.

    "I thought overall our pass defense was pretty good. We could have done a little better. I thought we were outstanding on third down. They only converted three of (11). I was a little disappointed in our run defense, but if you go back through the record books, I'm not sure how many games they've been held to 20 and won, but I guarantee you there's not too many times where someone scored 10 and beat them."

  • Carolina's defense has created 21 turnovers in their last seven games.

    "They come in droves," Fox said. "It's guys being around the ball. It's guys being in the right position. Sometimes there is an element of luck involved. But all-in-all I think a little more comfort zone in what we're doing and how we're doing it and getting into the flow of a season with a new defense."

  • In what could best be described as a fitting end to a horrible road trip, the police escorting the Panthers back to the airport in Providence, R.I., after Sunday's game got lost. That prompted police to stop traffic on a four-lane road while the three team buses attempted to make U-turns. According to those on the bus, several cars spent minutes honking their horns while the buses were forced to make three-point turns.

    On his Twitter page, kicker Rhys Lloyd wrote, "How the (expletive) do you get lost by the airport when the police are escorting you?"

    Lloyd went on to sum it up by saying, "What a cluster of a trip. A joke really."

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