Brian O’Neill facing his toughest challenge of the season vs. Panthers

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) Brian O'Neill
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) Brian O'Neill /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

How good is Brian Burns?

The simple answer is very.

Brian Burns came into the league as a first-round pick who was seen more of a pass-rushing specialist during his time at Florida State. However, the strides he’s made this season have turned the player into a three-down defensive end who can make a significant difference in big moments.

One thing that really comes across when watching Burns is his explosiveness, which is elite. He can get off the block to the point of attack in no time at all and once he learns how to finish off plays a little bit better, then the sky is the limit.

The Panthers struck gold when they selected Burns in the first round of last year’s draft. He has been their one driving force in terms of generating pressure that doesn’t come from anywhere else consistently and how Brian O’Neill copes with his immense threat will go a long way to determining the overall outcome.

Burns has recorded six sacks, 16 quarterback hits, 29 pressures, and a Pro Football Focus grade of 83.9 through the first 11 games of the season. This represents outstanding production from a player with the world at his feet and the Minnesota Vikings have undoubtedly spent a substantial amount of time game-planning to potentially counteract his threat.