The Call: Vikings vs. Carolina

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 12, 2013 - 7:18 PM
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Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) rushes against the Chicago Bears during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)

Photo: File photo by Jim Prisching • Associated Press,

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Vikings

17

Panthers

One man’s prediction: This has been a crazy and somber week at Winter Park, marked by quarterback movement and the death of a 2-year-old son of Adrian Peterson. This is only the second true home game for the Vikings, and the guess here is that they emerge from a difficult week with a victory.

Stout defense

The Carolina Panthers rank third in the NFL in total defense and third in scoring defense. Their previous two opponents managed only 400 total yards combined. The Panthers are led by stud middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, the 2012 Defensive Rookie of the Year who led the NFL in tackles with 164. Kuechly already has collected 48 tackles this season with two interceptions.

Top return men

This matchup features two of the best returners in the NFL in Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson and Carolina’s Ted Ginn Jr. Patterson, the NFC special teams player of the month for September, leads the NFL in kickoff return average at 33.8 yards. Ginn ranks fourth in the NFL in kickoff return average and seventh in punt returns. Both players will put stress on coverage teams in trying to prevent big returns.

Cam control

Carolina ran 14 read-option plays against the Arizona Cardinals last week, according to Vikings coach Leslie Frazier. The Vikings defense prepared all week for that look, and their success will hinge largely on their ability to limit Cam Newton’s ability to extend plays with his feet. Newton has scored 23 rushing touchdowns since entering the league in 2011, and 41 percent of his 273 career runs have resulted in first downs. “Can Newton is a guy that you’re not just going to shut down,” defensive coordinator Alan Williams said. “We have to make sure that we don’t let him just run around all day long.”

MANO-A-MANO: MATCHUP TO WATCH

Vikings CB Chris Cook vs. Panthers WR Steve Smith

About Cook

Cook is returning after missing the Pittsburgh game because of a groin injury. Cook said he’s 100 percent healthy and the Vikings need him to prove he can stay on the field.

About Smith

Smith has caught at least one pass in 95 consecutive games, a team record. His seven 1,000-yard receiving seasons are second-most among active NFL players.

Who has the edge?

Smith is always a tough matchup and the Vikings secondary isn’t exactly playing at a high level right now. It will take a group effort — not just Cook — to contain Smith.

Advantage: Smith

THE BIG NUMBER

12The Vikings have produced 12 takeaways, which ranks fourth in the NFL. That total includes seven interceptions — three fewer than their entire output from 2012.

BREAKOUT DAY

Kyle Rudolph: The Pro Bowl tight end has been fairly quiet with only 12 catches for 103 yards and one touchdown. Rudolph ranks 27th among NFL tight ends in catches and 35th in receiving yards. Rudolph is a big, reliable target — particularly in the red zone — and the Vikings need to get him more involved.



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  • After the week’s news shook out, Matt Cassel (16) was declared the Vikings’ starting quarterback for today’s game.

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Chicago WSox - WP: S. Carroll 6 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: Z. McAllister 2
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 11 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 6
NY Yankees - WP: S. Greene 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: C. Tillman 0
Arizona - WP: W. Miley 2 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 0
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 10 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2
Miami - LP: M. Dunn 4 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: V. Black 5
Boston - LP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: J. Fields 3
Minnesota - WP: K. Correia 9 FINAL
Colorado - LP: T. Matzek 3
Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 3 FINAL
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Detroit - WP: R. Porcello 5 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
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Pittsburgh - WP: J. Wilson 6 FINAL
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LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 5 FINAL
Texas - LP: M. Mikolas 2
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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