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Vikings: 3 Keys to Beating the Panthers

11 December, 2017, 03:40 | Author: John Swanson
  • Live NFL updates: Vikings are likely Panthers' toughest test down stretch

They did not have success in the play-action or screen game as they has so often throughout the year.

"We didn't play well enough to today", head coach Mike Zimmer told KFAN radio. "We probably didn't deserve to win".

It almost took every second off the clock, but the Carolina Panthers secured a clutch win over the Minnesota Vikings to keep pace with the New Orleans Saints for first place in the competitive NFC South.

This is all relevant right not because the Vikings play the Panthers in Carolina this week. An alternative way for the Vikings to win the NFC North - a loss or tie for both Green Bay and Detroit - didn't pan out.

Newton enters Sunday's game with the Panthers' passing attack in a slump. Nobody's going home right now. I've got to get my footing back.

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They succeeded in that mission Sunday. They will need a better effort across the board than they had against the Panthers. Despite Case Keenum's best efforts, Minnesota's offense could not get into a great rhythm. He also pulled a Houdini act in the third quarter, escaping a sack and then firing a dart to Devin Funchess for an 18-yard touchdown. Without one of his favorite targets for part of the game, Keenum had a tough day. He zigged and zagged for 62 yards, dodging defenders all the way, until finally he got dropped from behind by a Vikings defender.

Ryan Kalil is expected to start at center against the Vikings. On the day, the offensive line didn't run block all that well either-running back Latavius Murray found little room to run inside, and Jerick McKinnon only found some open real estate when he bounced it outside.

At 9-4 this season, the Panthers are threatening to make the playoffs for the fourth time in five years and they are starting to get 2015 vibes where they made winning fun.

At one point in the fourth quarter, it looked like 2016 all over again. The pass was thrown into triple coverage by Keenum, which may say something about the confidence Keenum has in Rudolph, but it was a risky throw.

"It definitely would have changed the game, but that was the first half", wide receiver Stefon Diggs said of the overturned touchdown.

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Philadelphia's loss last week turned the #1 seed over to the Vikings, and the prospect of not having to leave Minnesota all playoffs is one hell of a motivating factor. "He did what he does to keep his team in the game". The Panthers had other ideas, though, leaning on 10-year veteran Stewart, who torched the Vikings on a 60-yard touchdown in the first quarter and finished with 16 carries for 103 yards and three touchdowns.

Facemask penalties. We saw three of them called in a very short time and two of them on the Vikings. Carolina's defense forced Minnesota and Keenum into bad decisions.

"I have to do a better job of getting the ball out of my hands", Newton said.

Injuries and a concerted effort to keep Newton healthy have led to fewer carries for the dynamic quarterback.

Turnovers. The Panthers came into the game with 17 turnovers and the Vikings had 10.

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Griffen had three sacks against the Panthers last season, working mostly vs. Michael Oher, who is believed to have played the game with a concussion.

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