3 matchups the Vikings need to win in Week 4 vs. the Panthers

Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Derrick Brown
Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Derrick Brown / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages
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Matchup No. 3

Jonathan Bullard vs. Chandler Zavala

In his first season with the Vikings, veteran defensive lineman Dean Lowry is starting to look like a complete whiff for Minnesota.

Could Vikings rookie fifth-round pick Jaquelin Roy usurp him? The potential is surely there. This section, however, is about Minnesota lineman Jonathan Bullard.

Bullard is looking right now like the Vikings' best interior defensive lineman when it comes to getting into the backfield.

Minnesota defensive lineman Harrison Phillips has been good this year, but his strength has always been stopping the run and just eating up blockers.

While Bullard normally plays on the right side, and Panthers guard Chandler Zavala is on the left, it would make sense to flip Bullard onto Zavala to create the advantage. To put things lightly, Zavala has been bad this year. Less than a 30.0 PFF grade bad, to be exact.


If the Vikings want to continue their blitzing ways, they need to put Bullard against Zavala in order for them to get to the quarterback. Bullard should be able to handle Zavala, as most players have this season, allowing for lanes to open on the blitz.

All it takes is one opening to create pressure, and using Bullard as the battering ram against a struggling rookie like Zavala is just the way to do it.

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