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
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Russell Okung /

Attack the offensive line’s left side

The Panthers might be getting left tackle Russell Okung back into the mix for their game against the Minnesota Vikings this week. But the Super Bowl-winner has been out of action a long time and this is an area that should be exploited early and often.

Protecting Teddy Bridgewater’s blindside has been an ongoing problem when Okung isn’t in the lineup. Left guard Chris Reed is a real weak link and the likes of Trent Scott and Greg Little haven’t offered much in the way of consistent production in more prominent positions on the rotation.

Bridgewater himself is currently dealing with an MCL sprain on the other knee that he injured so severely in a freak training camp incident that all-but ended his Vikings career. Offensive coordinator Joe Brady will be calling plays that enable the signal-caller to get the ball out quickly and into the hands of his outstanding playmakers on offense. So Minnesota’s pass-rush needs to get into the backfield quickly to give them the next possible chance of success.

This is something they didn’t manage to do effectively against the Cowboys. Andy Dalton was given enough time to go through his reads and gain some notable yardage and if Bridgewater is allowed to do the same, his accuracy could have a big say in the overall outcome.