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Week 6 Game Preview: Panthers vs. Vikings

Jeremy Chinn

Game Reset

  • Carolina Panthers (3-2) vs. Minnesota Vikings (2-3)
  • Bank of America Stadium | Charlotte, NC
  • Sunday, Oct. 17 | 1 p.m. | FOX
  • Roster | Depth Chart | How to Watch

History: Panthers vs. Vikings

Notable Connections


  • Wide receiver Brandon Zylstra went to Concordia College in Minnesota and played for the Vikings in 2018.
  • Linebacker Kamal Martin is from Minnesota and went to Minnesota University for undergrad.


  • Defensive end Stephen Weatherly played for the Panthers in 2020.

The Vikings (2-3) have been on the wrong side of a number of close finishes in the fourth quarter and could very easily be 5-0 entering this game.

Kirk Cousins is in his fourth season in Minnesota as he looks to improve on his 27-24-1 overall record as a Viking. Cousins currently sits 11th in the NFL with a 103.7 passer rating, throwing for ten touchdowns with just two interceptions and 279.2 passing yards per game. He's been sacked nine times in five games, tied for ninth-fewest in the NFL.

Dalvin Cook, one of the league's top running backs over the last few years, has been nursing an ankle injury that initially kept him out of the Week 3 win against Seattle. He returned to little effect against Cleveland in Week 4 and was inactive again against the Lions on Sunday. He had been listed as questionable heading into the game, so his status will be something to track throughout the week.

Alexander Mattison has gotten a ton of run in Cook's absence. He and Tennessee's Derrick Henry are the only two players with 30+ touches in two or more games this season. Mattison rushed for 112 yards in Week 3 and added 153 scrimmage yards against the Lions.

Minnesota ranks 22nd in run defense with 130.0 yards allowed per game. Teams are averaging 4.74 yards per rush (29th) and 20.8 first downs per game (15th) against the Vikings. Conversely, the Vikings' pass defense has been Top 10 in the NFL, especially when they get to the quarterback. Minnesota ranks second in the league with 17 sacks and has 86 pressures, according to PFF. Using EPA (Expected Points Added) metrics, the Vikings have a 7.53 total defensive pass EPA (5th) on all pass plays and a 33.17 pass sack EPA (2nd) on sack plays.

Danielle Hunter has 6.0 sacks and nine QB hits, tied for fourth in the league.

Table inside Article
Category Panthers Vikings
Total Yards/Game 363.4 (16th) 382.8 (11th)
Rushing Yards/Game 107.8 (18th) 113.8 (15th)
Net Passing Yards/Game 255.6 (13th) 269.0 (10th)
Sacks Allowed 14 (t-24th) 9 (t-8th)
Third Down Efficiency 38.2 (21st) 39.1 (19th)
Points/Game 23.0 (t-16th) 22.6 (t-19th)
Total Yards/Game 255.8 (2nd) 368.8 (17th)
Rushing Yards/Game 94.2 (8th) 130.0 (22nd)
Passing Yards/Game 161.6 (1st) 238.8 (13th)
Sacks 16 (t-3rd) 17 (2nd)
Third Down Efficiency 25.5 (1st) 31.7 (4th)
Takeaways 5 (t-17th) 4 (t-22nd)
Points Allowed/Game 17.4 (3rd) 21.8 (9th)

Stat Nuggets To Know


  • The Panthers defense ranks second in the league in yards allowed (255.8) and is first in passing yards allowed (161.6). Carolina continues to be stout on third down, allowing conversions on just 25.5 percent of tries (1st). The Panthers have allowed just 75 first downs (1st) and 4.75 yards per play (2nd).
  • Carolina's pass rush ranks third in the league in sacks (16) and tied for ninth in QB hits (32). The 16 sacks rank 6th in franchise history through a season's first five games. The pass defense has held opposing QBs to a 58.9 percent completion rate (4th) and an 82.1 passer rating (5th).
  • As a whole, Carolina has allowed 94.2 rushing yards per game (6th), but that number is only 56.5 yards in the four games apart from Dallas who rushed for 245 yards.
  • Carolina has held the ball on average for 34:51 each game, the highest time of possession in the NFL. In first halves, Carolina has a scoring margin of +44 (2nd) and has yet to trail before halftime. This year marks the second time in franchise history (13) that Carolina has started its first five games with halftime leads in all of them.
  • 2021 marks the fourth consecutive season that Carolina has started 3-2.
  • The Panthers are 14-6 all-time in home games against the NFC North, including 3-2 record against the Vikings.


  • Quarterback Sam Darnold is tied for second in the NFL with five rushing touchdowns, the most among quarterbacks. His 10 rushing first downs are tied for sixth among quarterbacks.
  • Wide receiver DJ Moore is fourth in the league with 35 receptions and ninth with 440 receiving yards. His 170 yards after catch ties for seventh-most among wide receivers.
  • Running back Chuba Hubbard had his first career 100-yard rushing game last week against Philadelphia. He ranks third among rookies with 220 rushing yards this season.
  • Linebacker Haason Reddick is tied for second in the NFL with 6.5 sacks and tied for eighth with five tackles for loss. He's the only player this season with four games of at least 1.5 sacks in each game. Since 2020, Reddick is tied with Myles Garrett for the most total sacks in the NFL with 19.0.
  • Cornerback Donte Jackson has 11 career interceptions, tied with Minkah Fitzpatrick for the most by any player in the 2018 draft class. Last week, he recorded six tackles, an interception and a forced fumble, marking the second time in his career he's had a forced fumble, INT and at least six tackles in a game. Only he and Thomas Davis have accomplished that twice in a Panthers career.

Milestones in Reach

Sam Darnold

  • Needs two rushing TDs to tie the franchise record (7, Christian McCaffrey in 2019, Stephen Davis in 2005) for most rushing touchdowns in a season's first six games.

DJ Moore

  • Needs 307 receiving yards to pass Wesley Walls (3,902) for fourth place in Panthers history.

Haason Reddick

  • Needs one game with at least 1.5 sacks to tie the franchise record of five games with multiple sacks in a single season (Kevin Greene, 1999; Charles Johnson 2012)

Brian Burns

  • Needs 1.5 sacks to pass Kris Jenkins (20.5) for seventh among defensive linemen in Panthers history

Donte Jackson

  • Needs three interceptions to tie Richard Marshall/Doug Evans (14) for fifth all-time in franchise history

Jeremy Chinn

  • Needs 20 tackles to pass Will Witherspoon (157) for the most tackles in the first two seasons by a non-middle linebacker.

The Panthers are 6-9 all-time against the Vikings, with a 3-2 record at home and 3-7 record on the road.