We have the usual large, expert team of writers, editors and photographers covering the Vikings-Panthers game today at U.S. Bank Stadium.
What I’m watching for:
-Teddy Bridgewater was an efficient, game-manager type quarterback with the Vikings. His strengths were intelligence and leadership. His weakness: Throwing the deep ball. With the Panthers, who have been missing star running back Christian McCaffrey most of this season, Bridgewater has been productive throwing downfield. Can he beat the Vikings’ excellent safeties for big plays or will he throw underneath the test the young cornerbacks?
-As I wrote about in the Sunday paper, Dalvin Cook has had three 30-touch games in the last four games after having just two in his entire career before the last four games. Can he keep it up? I still can’t believe he wasn’t even on the injury report after the hits he took last week.
-The Vikings’ defensive line played well enough to help the team to a three-game winning streak, but the more they have to play without a star pass rusher, the easier they seem to be to game-plan for and handle. Can they make any splash plays today?
-With Irv Smith out, can Kyle Rudolph produce a vintage performance?
-With Adam Thielen out, can Justin Jefferson thrive as the focal point of the passing offense?
-The Vikings are 1-4 at home this season, and two of the losses - to Atlanta and Dallas - are inexcusable. Their only victory at home came against a Detroit team that fired their GM and head coach yesterday. Can the Vikings win a winnable home game to keep their playoff hopes alive?
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