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Know your Foe: Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins

The Panthers (4-7) travel to Minnesota (4-6) to take on the Vikings in this Thanksgiving Week matchup up north.

Carolina is 3-6 all-time at Minnesota, but this marks the Panthers' first game at U.S. Bank Stadium. It's also the return of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who was a first-round draft pick by Minnesota in 2014 and played for the Vikings from 2014-17.

How they got here

While the Panthers are coming off a 20-0 shutout of Detroit to snap a five-game losing streak, the Vikings had a three-game win streak snapped by a tough loss to Dallas.

The Vikings started the season 1-5 and were likely out of the playoff race. Then they reeled off three impressive wins against their NFC North foes that reminded observers of the team that many thought would contend with Green Bay for a division title. But Minnesota then stumbled with a 31-28 home loss to a Dallas team that had previously won just two games.

While the offensive production was still impressive, the Vikings lost two fumbles resulting in 10 points. They also allowed 180 rushing yards, 70 more than Dallas' season rushing average.

Adam Thielen

Another week, another top WR in question

It seems like every week the Panthers are looking at a new opponent with a No. 1 wideout with a murky status.

This week, it's Vikings Pro Bowl wideout Adam Thielen. On Monday, he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Teams are not allowed to comment on a player's condition beyond his roster status, meaning Thielen could conceivably be back by Sunday, or he might miss the Panthers matchup.

Thielen currently leads the NFL with 11 receiving touchdowns to go with 49 receptions for 646 yards.

Dalvin Cook

Cook aiming at rushing title

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook has already passed 1,000 rushing yards as he goes neck and neck with Tennessee's Derrick Henry for the 2020 rushing title. Cook has 1,069 rushing yards, just 10 behind Henry for tops in the league.

Cook has averaged 5.3 yards per carry and has a league-best 13 rushing touchdowns. He's just five rushing touchdowns away from 18, which is the most in one season, dating back to LaDainian Tomlinson's NFL-record 28 touchdowns from 2006.

Third-down defense

While the Vikings are in the lower third of the NFL in most defensive categories, they have been outstanding on third down.

Minnesota has allowed a 35.2 third-down conversion percentage, ranking fourth in the league.

Linebacker Eric Wilson is the only player in the NFL with at least three sacks and three interceptions, while linebacker Eric Kendricks is seventh with 94 tackles.

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

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