4 most disappointing Vikings from their Week 12 win over the Panthers
By Nik Edlund
Shamar Stephen – DT
Minnesota’s run defense was horrible on Sunday against the Panthers. They gave up big chunks of yardage on the ground to Carolina running backs like Mike Davis, Rodney Smith, and Trenton Cannon. These aren’t top of the line NFL backs, but they didn’t have any trouble finding room to run against the Vikings this week.
There is plenty of blame to go around, but the guy who has to be shamed the most for his sad performance is Minnesota defensive tackle Shamar Stephen.
Stephen’s one job on the Vikings defense is to shut down the opposing running game. He is a big guy and all he has to do is anchor and plug running lanes. Stephen was once very good at doing this, but this has been a struggle for him this year.
Stephen wasn’t able to cause any disruption and the Panthers had little trouble moving him out of the way to make room for their pedestrian set of running backs. He finished with just one tackle on the day and he only has 23 on the season.
Stephen was always going to be a downgrade from Michael Pierce as Minnesota’s nose tackle this season. But it’s safe to say, no one saw this big of a dropoff coming.