4 keys to victory for the Minnesota Vikings vs. Panthers in Week 12

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) Mike Zimmer – Minnesota Vikings /

87. 60. Vikings -3.5. 4-7. FOX. Sunday, Nov 29. 4-6. 12 PM CT

What are the keys to victory for the Minnesota Vikings vs. the Panthers?

It’s officially do-or-die for the Minnesota Vikings after their disappointing loss at home to the Dallas Cowboys. Their faint playoff hopes are hanging by a thread and defeat to the Carolina Panthers at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 12 will see Mike Zimmer’s men looking forward to next season.

This might be a stiffer test than many expected prior to the campaign. The Panthers are coming into the game on the back of an eye-catching shutout win over the Lions and have gone toe-to-toe with the NFL’s best this season without quite doing enough down the stretch.

It is a challenge the Vikings have to take seriously, or they will pay the price. Nobody will know this more than Zimmer, who will be going up against a player he hoped would be the quarterback for his whole career in Teddy Bridgewater.

If the Vikings don’t get back to winning ways, then they can kiss the chance of any play beyond the regular season goodbye and they would only have themselves to blame. Here are four keys to victory for Minnesota against a young and exciting Panthers team.

Key to Victory No. 1

Minnesota Vikings
(Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings /

Run, run, run

This is something we have seen prominently from the Vikings since their bye week, but it takes on even more significance this weekend. Minnesota will be without two prominent pass-catchers in Adam Thielen and Irv Smith Jr., so expect to see even more of star running back Dalvin Cook against a Panthers defense that is giving up an average of 116.8 yards-per-game on the ground.

It’s hard to imagine just how much more of the load Cook can carry. He’s accumulated 109 touches in the four games since the bye and putting even more on him might come with a drop in production to a certain extent.

Alexander Mattison might also be called upon to do more, which would also help Minnesota’s cause significantly.