5 Bold Predictions: Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers – Week 12

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Brian Burns /

Burns will be a problem for Minnesota’s offense

Carolina’s defense has struggled throughout the season, but a bright spot has been the emergence of Brian Burns. The 16th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft has come on strong and has been a weapon for the Panthers lining up all over the field in 2020.

Burns grades as the ninth-best edge defender in the league according to PFF and ranks fourth with 43 pressures. Along with the third-best pass rusher grade among edge defenders, Burns also is an above-average tackler and has even dropped back into coverage on occasion for Carolina. In short, Burns is a valuable chess piece for Matt Rhule’s defense.

For a team like the Vikings, the presence of Burns can be a big problem on Sunday. The Vikings will likely be without Ezra Cleveland for the second straight game. Although his replacement, Brett Jones fared well, the Vikings have had their share of issues with fast pass-rushers on the outside and strength in the middle.

Burns can bring the speed from the outside, but another wildcard could be Derrick Brown on the interior. If the Vikings can’t find an answer for either, it could be a very difficult day for their offense.