• Carolina is third in the NFL defensively in yards allowed and seventh against the run.

•  Linebacker Luke Kuechly was the league’s defensive rookie of the year last season, and had 15 tackles and an interception last week in a 22-6 loss at Arizona.

• DeAngelo Williams is 11th in the NFL with 330 rushing yards. LeSean McCoy of the Eagles (514) and Adrian Peterson of the Vikings (421) are first and second.

• Veteran WR Steve Smith is 24th in NFL history with 11,655 receiving yards and 29th with 790 catches.

• Starting left guard Amini Silatolu (knee) is out for the season.


• The first overall pick in the 2011 draft is fifth fastest in NFL history to reach 8,000 passing yards, hitting that mark in his 33rd game. He has 23 rushing touchdowns, fifth most in the league in that span (Peterson leads with 29).

• On facing the Vikings defense: “They have some extraordinary defensive linemen that can wreak havoc. If we don’t control those guys, it could be a long day.”

• On the new wave of versatile quarterbacks: “You just have to know when to do each, because it can be a gift and a curse. So it’s up to the player who has the talent to control it and be dangerous when the opportunity presents itself.”

Coach speak RON RIVERA

• Rivera was a teammate of Vikings coach Leslie Frazier with the Bears, and considers him a mentor: “Leslie is one of the few people I can honestly say I do turn to for guidance in more ways than one, not just on everyday things, but a spiritual sense. He’s one of those really good people who you can always rely on.”

• On standout rookie defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short: “They’ve given us a consistent inside push. It’s really helped our defensive ends. We’ve taken away the opportunity for quarterbacks to step up quickly in the pocket, and they’ve forced some double teams.”

• On both teams being 1-3: “We’ve put ourselves in position to win football games, but we just haven’t done it. Our seasons kind of mimic each other. We’ve had games we’ve had leads in the fourth quarter, and unfortunately we didn’t close them out.”