The 1-3 Carolina Panthers visit the 1-3 Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, October 13. Kick-off is at 12 PM CDT from Mall of America Field. The game will be televised on FOX.
Point Spread: Minnesota -2.5
Friday injury report:
|Rhett Ellison||TE||Knee||Limited Participation in Practice||Questionable|
|Adrian Peterson||RB||Personal||Did Not Participate In Practice||Probable|
|Christian Ponder||QB||Rib||Limited Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Blair Walsh||K||left Hamstring||Did Not Participate In Practice||Questionable|
|Joe Webb||WR||Illness||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Chris Cook||CB||Groin||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Kevin Williams||DT||Knee||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Jamarca Sanford||S||Hamstring||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Quintin Mikell||S||Ankle||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Dwan Edwards||DT||Hamstring||Did Not Participate In Practice||Doubtful|
|Greg Olsen||TE||Foot||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Kenjon Barner||RB||Foot||Did Not Participate In Practice||Doubtful|
|Robert Lester||S||Hamstring||Did Not Participate In Practice||Doubtful|
|D.J. Moore||CB||Knee||Out (Definitely Will Not Play)||Out|
|Colin Cole||DT||Shoulder||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
After an 0-3 start, the Vikings finally got on track against the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago in London, thanks in large part to quarterback Matt Cassel who threw 2 TDs and no INTs in place of injured starter Christian Ponder.
Cassel will get his second straight start on Sunday with Ponder as the back-up and newly acquired QB Josh Freeman waiting in the wings. Adrian Peterson announced on Friday he will play despite the tragic death of his 2-year-old son. Peterson had his best game of the year two weeks ago against Pittsburgh, running for 140 yards and 2 TDs.
The Minnesota defense remains a question mark after an up-and-down first quarter of the season. The pass rush got on track against Pittsburgh, and will need to be strong again this week to make up for a secondary that has performed dismally most of the season. The Vikings have especially struggled in third down and late-half situations. The D should get a boost from the return of injured starters Chris Cook and Jamarca Sanford.
Kicker Blair Walsh is somewhat of a question mark after tweaking a hamstring during practice.
The Panthers and embattled coach Ron Rivera will look to rebound this week after a frustrating road loss last Sunday to the Arizona Cardinals. Quarterback Cam Newton turned the ball over four times in the defeat while being sacked 7 times. The Carolina offensive line is a huge question mark as is their receiver corps, which lacks playmakers after aging #1 Steve Smith.
There’s no question about the Carolina front-7 which could be one of the best in the NFL. The defense is anchored by second year middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, and features great edge rushers in Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy. Carolina also sports a pair of talented rookie defensive tackles in Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short.
Both teams are badly in need of a win to avoid falling far off the pace in their respective divisional races. The key for the Vikings will be Matt Cassel, who must continue playing efficient, mistake-free football to complement Adrian Peterson. The Panthers need Cam Newton to exploit the shaky Vikings secondary. The Vikings need their defensive line to dominate what has been a poor Carolina offensive line.
Prediction: Vikings 27, Panthers 21