The Panthers at Vikings pick for the NFL’s week 12 docket should be a homecoming game for Carolina QB Teddy Bridgewater, who was drafted in the 1st round by Minnesota in 2014. Bridgewater missed last week’s game against Detroit, but backup P.J. Walker and the Carolina defense powered the team to a 20-0 victory as +3 point home underdogs.
Minnesota is a -3 favorite on Sunday, a line that seems a bit iffy considering the Vikings are 1-4 at U.S. Bank Stadium this season and coming off a 31-28 defeat vs. the Cowboys last week as -7 point home favorites. The Vikings had a good enough offensive day to win last week against Dallas, but can the Minnesota defense hold up their end of the bargain vs. Carolina?
Bridgewater Expected Back for Panthers
It’s expected that Teddy Bridgewater will return in the Panthers at Vikings pick after suffering a knee injury in the week 10 loss to Tampa Bay. That defeat against Tampa Bay was the 5th straight for Carolina, but do they have momentum after dominating Detroit last week?
Bridgewater is an incredibly accurate passer with a 72.1% completion percentage on the year. Carolina is still without Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) but showed the ability to make plays last week as D.J. Moore had 7 grabs for 127 yards while Curtis Samuel and Robbie Anderson combined for 15 catches for 116 yards and a score. Andy Dalton threw 3 TDs vs. the Minnesota secondary last week and the Cowboys had another 180 yards on the ground so Carolina should see some success here.
The unit that will face a test on Sunday is the Carolina defense. The Panthers looked great last Sunday in posting their first shutout in 5 years while also starting five rookies on defense. Detroit had just 40 yards rushing and only 145 through the air, but the Minnesota offense is firing a bit more efficiently than the Lions’ right now.
Minnesota Ready to Rack Up Points Again?
The Vikings offense played good enough to win last week. Kirk Cousins threw for 314 yards with 3TD and 0 INT while Dalvin Cook added another 100+ yard game with 27 carries for 115 yards but it still wasn’t enough to push Minnesota’s win streak to four games.
With all that production and Mike Zimmer’s team still not able to pull out a victory, how is Minnesota supposed to get the win over Carolina? Dallas has the worst rush defense and scoring defense in the NFL, but Carolina is 18th and 15th respectively. The Minnesota defense also gave up the first 100+ yard game of the season for Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliot and allowed another 42 yard TD run by Tony Pollard.
While Minnesota’s offense can usually put up the points to make up for defensive deficiencies, they take a hit on that side of the ball if Adam Thielen is not able to be activated from the COVID list. Justin Jefferson has had a solid rookie season with 848 reception yards, but Thielen is coming off an absolutely dominating performance with 8 catches for 123 yards and 2 TD vs. Dallas.
Free Panthers at Vikings Pick
A slight 58% of the betting public is backing Minnesota in this matchup, but there’s a lot to like about the Panthers. Carolina gets Bridgewater back, and is up against a Vikings team likely missing Thielen and who is very bad at home.
Panthers 27 – Vikings 23
Free Pick: Carolina +3