Series: Vikings lead 5-4
Last meeting(s): 20 fourth quarter points propelled the 2009 Panthers to a 26-7 win over Minnesota in a Week 15 game. Adrian Peterson had just 35 yards and Brett Favre threw one pick and no touchdowns. This was the Vikings’ second loss in three games (after starting 10-1) and it was the game where Brad Childress “wanted” to bench Favre, but didn’t. Matt Moore was playing at his absolute best, throwing for 299 yards and three touchdowns. In the final four games of 2009, Moore threw eight touchdowns and no interceptions and the Panthers went 3-1. He’s thrown six touchdowns and 13 touchdowns since.
Moore isn’t the only Panther quarterback to come up with a surprising win against Minnesota. Chris Weinke won his first ever start against Minnesota in 2001. He didn’t win another start until December 2006, when he was a 49er. In 2002, 36-year-old Rodney Peete played well enough to lead Carolina to a 21-14 win and push them to a 3-0 start.
Streak(s): Minnesota is 0-2 and has been outscored 64-20 in games in Charlotte (somehow Minnesota has hosted seven of the nine meetings). Minnesota’s offense has scored just two touchdowns in the last three meetings, and quarterbacks Brett Favre, Gus Frerotte, and Brad Johnson combined for one touchdown and three interceptions in those games. Still, the Vikings have managed to win two of those games—in 2008, Antoine Winfield turned the tide when he forced a fumble on his sack of Jake Delhomme, then picked up the ball and ran for a touchdown; in 2006, Ryan Longwell kicked two field goals in regulation and threw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter that forced overtime, where he hit the game-winner.
Steve Smith: On the first play of the the first game of Smith’s career he returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. Yes, that game was played in Minnesota. In five games against the Vikings, Smith has caught 30 passes for 525 yards and three touchdowns; more importantly, the Panthers are 4-1 in when he plays (the Vikings won in 2006 when Smith did not play). In 2009, Smith caught 9 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown. In Week 8 of 2005, Daunte Culpepper’s last game as a Viking, Smith caught 11 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown.
Missing C(h)ris, not Randy: Cris Carter played four games against Carolina, scoring at least one touchdown in each. The Vikings were 3-1 in those games. Chris Walsh scored one of his four career touchdowns against Carolina in 2002. Randy Moss, meanwhile, had one decent game (5 catches, 106 yards, and a touchdown in 2000), but overall was ineffective against the Panthers in three tries as a Viking. He managed just 10 catches and one touchdown.