ABOUT THE PANTHERS
• Despite committing four turnovers, the Panthers (1-1) scored 46 points last week in a thumping of the San Francisco 49ers in Charlotte.
• To start his MVP encore, quarterback Cam Newton already has accounted for 665 yards of offense and six touchdowns (five passing, one rushing) through two games.
• Starting running back Jonathan Stewart is expected to miss Sunday’s game because of a hamstring injury. Carolina will turn to a committee led by running back Fozzy Whittaker, who totaled 100 yards against the 49ers.
• Receiver Kelvin Benjamin has made a seamless return after missing last season because of a torn ACL. He already has caught 13 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns.
• The Panthers defense is tied for the league lead with four interceptions, though Carolina’s five turnovers trail only Tampa Bay.
PLAYER SPEAK LB Luke Kuechly
• The three-time All-Pro underwent offseason shoulder surgery to repair a partly torn labrum, which he played through during the Panthers’ run to the Super Bowl.
• Kuechly appears fully healed as he’s played 97 percent of defensive snaps through two weeks, compiling 14 solo tackles and one interception.
• On not facing Adrian Peterson: “He’s a beast, he’s an animal. … But two guys they have behind Adrian Peterson, I think, are both good players. [Matt] Asiata is a good, physical, yards-after-contact guy. He’s not easy to tackle. [Jerick] McKinnon, you give him the smallest crease, he’s going to score a touchdown.”
• On Newton’s growth: “He’s a good energy boost for us. It’s been fun to watch him grow as far as his understanding of what’s going on and his confidence, making checks and directing guys at the line of scrimmage.”
Coach speak: Ron Rivera
• Rivera is in his sixth NFL season as head coach with a 48-33-1 record overall, including 15-1 last season as NFC champions.
• Under Rivera’s watch, the Panthers defense has ranked among the league’s top 10 in fewest yards allowed in each of the past five seasons.
• On ditching plan to ease Kelvin Benjamin into action: “There was a concern about overusing him early. The work he does now, just to keep himself going, is terrific, so we’ve had to scrap that and let him go with the flow of the game.”
• On if plans change for defending Sam Bradford without Adrian Peterson or Matt Kalil: “It doesn’t. Quite honestly, on the offensive side, Norv Turner is going to do what Norv Turner does. So, it’s about game planning for what he’s going to do and not the individuals.”
• On preparing for Vikings nose tackle Linval Joseph: “Big guy, large. Him and Sharrif Floyd I think are a good tandem. I think they have some quality backups in [Tom] Johnson and [Shamar] Stephen. I like their defense.”