Catch up on the Minnesota Vikings news, notes, and jottings from the week leading up to the week 3 NFL matchup with the Carolina Panthers.
There are plenty of interesting tidbits pertaining to the Minnesota Vikings heading in to their week 3 tilt against the Carolina Panthers, so here is a breakdown of some of the most interesting under the radar information out there.
The Minnesota Vikings rank second in the NFL in turnover ratio (+5) only to be currently bested by another NFC contender the Arizona Cardinals (+7). A huge contributor to that figure is the fact that the Vikings rank first in forced fumbles, and helping are the game changing interceptions by Eric Kendricks and Trae Waynes in back to back weeks.
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The Minnesota Vikings offense and special teams play isn’t letting the defense get the only high rankings for the team. Rising superstar and currently crowned NFC offensive player of the week, Stefon Diggs currently leads the league in receiving yards (285), leads the league in catches resulting in a first down (12), and is tied for fourth in 20+ yard receptions (4).
Sep 18, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and forces a fumble in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
On special teams Cordarrelle Patterson leads the whole NFL with currently an unbelievable 41 yard kick return average.
Mike Zimmer himself is on a roll leading the Vikings on their second 5 game winning streak, of his tenure and this weekend will be trying to lead the Vikings to their first 6 game run of his coaching career. He already has Minnesota off to his first 2-0 start.
The mosquito isn’t the most annoying bug in Minnesota currently, Minnesota Vikings fans are most annoyed by the injury bug. The news started with with Teddy Bridgewater’s non contact practice knee injury towards the end of the end of preseason, ending his season before it started, through Xavier Rhodes missing 2 games and finally making it up 2 steps on the injury report to questionable.
Now, LT Matt Kalil was placed on injured reserve and must miss a minimum of 8 weeks, the Sharrif Floyd required a “clean up” procedure on his knee and is expected to miss 4 or more weeks, and Adrian Peterson, whose knee injury is way worse than previously thought, may not even be able to return until maybe possibly the postseason.
This could leave Vikings fans wondering if the future first ballot Pro Football Hall of Fame member will ever wear a Vikings jersey again. Mike Zimmer has made multiple statements as to the resiliency of his team, and it makes sense to believe in the team the same way he does. This team was built to contend now, the next men up on this team are capable enough in most skill positions to start for another NFL team.
Jan 3, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (23) scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Chargers 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
To combat the injury to Adrian Peterson, the Vikings will lean heavily on Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata as well as newly signed Ronnie Hillman.
Hillman known last by Vikings fans as the guy who torched the Vikings as a Denver Bronco last season for a 72 yard touchdown run. Hillman’s 5 year tenure in the NFL made him a more desirable option than practice squad player CJ Ham, whose preseason tempted fans to ask why he wasn’t brought up. McKinnon is the best of the trio, but a rotation with Matt Asiata, and Ronnie Hillman can give the Minnesota Vikings a “hottest hands” approach.
Border battle 112 wasn’t just costly in the injury department, NFC Offensive player of the week Stefon Diggs was fined $12,154 for his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and Packers DL Mike Daniels was handed a heftier $18,231 for his hit on Vikings QB Sam Bradford. Honestly most fans were expecting quite a hefty fine for Andrew Sendejo, for the shot he gave Packers QB Aaron Rodgers after the QB took a few steps in the endzone already.
The Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivers announced RB Cameron Artis-Payne will be his teams premier running back for the game against the Vikings in place of starter Jonathan Stewart. The Vikings though won’t just have him to worry about as Cam Newton has proven that he can beat you not only with his arm but with his legs as he not only holds the rookie records for rushing and passing yards by a QB, starting with throwing for 400 yards in his first career game and many more records up to last weekend breaking the record for QB rushing touchdowns with 44. His list of records and accomplishments which isn’t even finished being written will already ensure the Panthers Superman a spot in Canton.
Sunday will provide the Vikings with an amazing opportunity, if the Vikings lose a close game, it’s a confidence booster showing that the team is truly on the border of elite status, if the Vikings win, it will suggest a firm shift in not only the NFC North power scale but it will overhaul the NFC all together.
Persevering through all the injuries that Minnesota has had to deal with, a win will show that the Vikings management has succeeded in assembling a contender. Carolina is on a 14 game home win streak currently, pulling off a win will be no easy feat. After a game against a team with this level of competition, fans of the Minnesota Vikings will start to find out how good this team truly can be.
The more important question is… How GREAT can the Vikings defense be on Sunday?