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Know Your Foe: Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins

CHARLOTTE – The Panthers return home in Week 4, seeking their first win against a team also seeking their first win.

Carolina (0-3, 0-2 NFC South) hosts the Minnesota Vikings (0-3, 0-0 NFC North) at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday for a 1 p.m. game. The matchup will be televised on FOX.

The Panthers are 6-10 all-time against the Vikings, with a 3-3 home record. They lost their last matchup on Oct. 17, 2021, in an overtime game, 34-28, in Charlotte. View the full series history here.

Here's what to know about the Vikings:

Close loss to the Chargers

The Vikings had an opportunity to tally their first win of the season against the Los Angeles Chargers, nearing victory at the end of a close game but coming up just short in Week 3.

Minnesota has had tough breaks throughout its early season, faltering in losses to Tampa Bay (20-17), Philadelphia (34-28), and Los Angeles (28-24). And the Chargers game was nearly within the Vikings' reach.

Los Angeles coach Brandon Staley opted to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the Chargers' 24-yard line, and Minnesota defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard stuffed LA running back Joshua Kelley to give Minnesota the ball with 1:47 left in good field position.

The Vikings had to score a touchdown, and they struggled to move the ball in crunch time before a fourth-down completion to tight end T.J. Hockenson from quarterback Kirk Cousins set them up with first-and-goal at the 6-yard line.

Cousins then tossed the ball toward Hockenson but ended the drive – and the game – with an interception, the kind of mistake that Minnesota's offense has been caught making all season.

"Very tough ending to a football game that, quite frankly, we felt like was in our grasp again and didn't execute at the end, overall, the way we needed to on either of our final two possessions to get one of those football in the end zone," Minnesota head coach Kevin O'Connell said in an article posted to the team website.

Justin Jefferson

Positive passing offense

For all the miscues that have led up to their 0-3 start, the Vikings boast one of the NFL's top passing offenses through three weeks.

Minnesota is one of two offenses that have put up more than 1,000 passing yards to this point, posting 1,019 yards (second in the NFL behind Miami). Cousins is completing 69.6 percent of his passes (96-of-138) for 1,075 yards, nine touchdowns, and two interceptions, averaging 7.8 yards per attempt.

He has a strong weapon in wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who leads Minnesota by a lot with 458 receiving yards on 27 catches this season. Rookie wide receiver Jordan Addison has 185 receiving yards on 13 receptions, while Hockenson has put up 179 on 23 receptions.

Brandon Powell

Turnover woes

The Vikings have committed the most turnovers in the league (9) and a minus-7 turnover differential.

They've lost seven fumbles this season, which is tied for the second-most through three games since 2000, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Cousins has added two interceptions, including the game-defining pick in Week 3 as they lost to the Chargers.

The Vikings have had 24.2 percent of their drives end in a turnover this year – the second-highest mark in the league behind the Raiders (25 percent).

O'Connell said the Vikings are exploring every option as they look to fix the mistakes.

"I think that's something we're going to fix one way or the other," O'Connell said in a press conference Monday. "Either guys are going to (fix) it or we're going to have to put other guys in the game that have ball security."

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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