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Game Preview: Vikings at Panthers

The Minnesota Vikings (2-0) travel to play the defending NFC Champion Carolina Panthers (1-1) in Week 3 with kickoff scheduled for noon (CT). Both teams captured wins in Week 2, with the Vikings defeating the Packers, 17-14, on Sunday Night Football and the Panthers beating the 49ers by a score of 46-27. In the most-recent matchup between the two clubs, the Vikings beat the Panthers 31-13 in a Week 13 matchup in 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium.

For the fourth time in his 15-game career, WR Stefon Diggs surpassed 100 receiving yards, with a 182-yard performance, the eighth most receiving yards in a game in Vikings history. Diggs leads the NFL in receiving yards with 285 yards on 16 receptions through two weeks.

In his first action as a Viking, QB Sam Bradford led Minnesota to victory in the inaugural game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Bradford threw for 286 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs, recording a 121.1 passer rating. His 286 yards is the most by a QB in a debut game with the Vikings.

The Vikings defense, which ranks fifth in the NFL, allowing 289.5 yards per game, totaled five sacks vs. Green Bay in Week 2. DT Linval Joseph and DE Danielle Hunter have each recorded a sack in both games in 2016. CB Trae Waynes, who leads the Vikings with 4 passes defensed this season, snagged his first career regular-season interception to help seal the victory vs. Green Bay.

BROADCAST COVERAGE

TELEVISION: FOX (Channel 9 in the Twin Cities) Play-by-Play: Chris Myers; Analyst: Ronde Barber; Sideline: Jennifer Hale

LOCAL RADIO: KFAN-FM 100.3/KTLK-AM 1130

Play-by-Play: Paul Allen; Analyst: Pete Bercich

Sideline Reporters: Greg Coleman and Ben Leber

Pre-Game Show: Mike Mussman – 10 a.m. CT

KFAN and KTLK serve as the flagship stations for the 72-station, 5-state Vikings Radio Network.

NORSEMAN NOTABLES

  • For the first time in Zimmer's three-year tenure, the Vikings have started the season 2-0.
  • The Vikings are 4-0 in games where WR Stefon Diggs records 100-plus receiving yards.
  • Diggs is tied for first in the NFL with 12 receptions resulting in a first down and is tied for fourth with four receptions of 20-plus yards. Diggs is one of two in the NFL (Will Fuller, Houston) to start 2016 with two games of 100-plus receiving yards.
  • The Vikings defense sacked Aaron Rodgers five times in Week 2, marking the eighth time under Zimmer the Vikings have recorded at least five sacks in a game. 
  • DE Danielle Hunter, who was second in the NFL among all rookies with 6.0 sacks last season, has 2.0 sacks through the first two games. Hunter, who turned 21 last Oct. 29, is still the second-youngest player on the Vikings roster (Laquon Treadwell). 
  • The Vikings rank second in the NFL with a plus-five turnover differential, trailing only the Cardinals (plus-seven).
  • Vikings LB Eric Kendricks, who was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 1, brought in his first career interception, which he returned 77 yards for a touchdown at Tennessee (Sept. 11). The 77-yard interception return touchdown was the sixth-longest by a Vikings LB in team history.
  • The Vikings have won five consecutive regular-season games for the second time under Zimmer.
  • After totaling seven catches for 96 yards through two games, TE Kyle Rudolph moved into fourth for receptions in team history by a TE with 189. Rudolph, who caught his 23rd career touchdown in Week 2, is just five touchdowns shy of matching Steve Jordan's Vikings team record for touchdowns by a TE with 28.
  • WR Cordarrelle Patterson leads the NFL with a 41.0 kickoff return average. Patterson has returns of 37 and 61 yards after 2 weeks. For the first time in his NFL career, Patterson received touches on a kick return, punt return, a rush play and a pass play at Tennessee (Sept. 11).
  • The Vikings defense leads the NFL with five forced fumbles and has allowed only four plays for 20 yards, tied for third in the NFL.

VIKINGS-PANTHERS CONNECTIONS

• Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera worked as the Inside Linebackers Coach and Defensive Coordinator for the San Diego Chargers while Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner was the Chargers head coach from 2007-10.

• Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards spent time with Panthers Senior Advisor to Special Teams Bruce DeHaven in Buffalo during the 2010-11 seasons.

• Panthers TEs Coach Pete Hoener was on the 49ers offensive staff while Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner in 2006.

• Panthers Assistant Head Coach/Secondary Steve Wilks worked under Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera in San Diego when Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner served as the Chargers head coach.

• Vikings QBs Coach Scott Turner spent the 2011-12 seasons as the Offensive Quality Control for the Panthers. While Turner was on the offensive staff QB Cam Newton won Rookie of the Year in 2011.

• Vikings CB Captain Munnerlyn was originally drafted by the Panthers in the seventh-round of the 2009 NFL Draft (No. 216 overall), Munnerlyn spent his first five seasons in Carolina, totaling 297 tackles and seven interceptions.

• Panthers QB Joe Webb was originally drafted in the sixth-round (No. 199 overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. Webb played in 33 games for the Vikings.

• Vikings C Joe Berger was drafted by the Panthers in the sixth round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Berger spent the 2005 training camp with the Panthers before being signed to their practice squad.

• Panthers S Kurt Coleman spent the 2015 offseason with the Vikings before being released during final cuts.

• Panthers T Mike Remmers spent four weeks on the Vikings roster during the 2013 campaign, but was inactive for all four games.

• Vikings Assistant DL Coach Robert Rodriguez was on the Panthers practice squad in 2005 through their playoff run.

FAMILY CONNECTIONS

• Vikings T Matt Kalil is the brother of Panthers C Ryan Kalil. The pair have each earned Pro Bowl honors and became the third set of brothers in USC history to each earn First-Team All-America honors.

• Panthers Assistant WRs Coach Cameron Turner is the nephew of Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner and the cousin of Vikings QBs Coach Scott Turner. Cam Turner also spent time with the Vikings, serving as the Assistant to the Head Coach from 2011-12.

• Vikings College Scout/Blesto Steve Price's mom, Toni Miller, serves as the Panthers Executive Assistant to the GM/Football Operations. Price worked in the Panthers equipment room while growing up in Charlotte before interning with the Panthers PR department.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

• Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson hails from Rock Hill, South Carolina, approximately 30 miles south of Charlotte, North Carolina.

• Vikings LB Audie Cole attended North Carolina State University.

• Vikings C Nick Easton is a Lenoir, North Carolina, native.

• Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards is from Silver City, North Carolina, and played football at Duke.

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS

• Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes was on the Florida State roster for two seasons with Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (2011-12).

• Vikings DE Danielle Hunter and Panthers G Trai Turner were teammates at LSU from 2012-13. Panthers DE Lavar Edwards was also at LSU in 2012.

• Vikings G Alex Boone was teammates with Panthers S Kurt Coleman and WR Ted Ginn, Jr. while at Ohio State.

VIKINGS BIG DAYS VS. PANTHERS

  • CB Terence Newman, as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, recorded one of his five career touchdowns after scoring on a 27-yard interception return vs Carolina (Sept. 28, 2009).
  • Vikings DT Linval Joseph posted 10 total tackles against the Panthers as a member of the New York Giants on Sept. 22, 2013.
  • Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph had nine receptions and 97 yards vs. Carolina (10/13/13).
  • Vikings S Harrison Smith totaled eight tackles, 1.0 sack and two TFLs vs. Carolina (10/13/13).
  • Vikings DE Everson Griffen sacked Cam Newton twice in the most-recent matchup with Carolina (11/30/14).
  • Vikings LB Chad Greenway had nine tackles, 1.0 sack and 1 forced fumble vs. Carolina (9/21/08).
  • WR Adam Thielen blocked a punt and returned it 30 yards for his first career touchdown vs. Carolina (11/30/14). The 30-yard return on the blocked punt was the longest in franchise history until Griffen returned a blocked punt 43 yards in the second quarter. The two blocked punt return touchdowns marked the fourth time since the 1970 merger and the first time since 9/30/90 (Kansas City Chiefs) that the feat has occurred.
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