The Minnesota Vikings (10-2) will travel to face the Carolina Panthers (8-4) in Week 14, the 3rd of 3 straight road games for Minnesota. The Vikings own a 5-1 road record while the Panthers hold a 3-2 mark at home in 2017. The Vikings 10-2 start is the best start through 12 games for Minnesota since starting 10-2 in 2009. The Vikings, who have won 5 consecutive road games for the 1st time since 1974, currently have an 8-game winning streak, tied with New England for the longest streak in the NFL.
The Vikings offense, which ranks 5th in the NFL in yards per game (370.4), has been led by the consistent play from WR Adam Thielen, who is 4th in the NFL with 1,056 receiving yards and 7th in the NFL with 74 receptions. QB Case Keenum has stepped in to start 10 games, posting a 8-2 record and compiling 16 TDs, 5 INTs and a career-best 98.6 passer rating, the 8th-best mark in the NFL. RBs Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray have filled the void left by rookie starter RB Dalvin Cook helping the Vikings rush for 122.8 yards per game, 6th in the NFL. In the last 6 games, Murray has rushed for 475 yards (3rd in the NFL) and 5 TDs (tied for 3rd in the NFL).
The Vikings defense has held opponents to 289.1 yards per game (2nd in the NFL) and 17.0 points per game (2nd in the NFL). The Vikings defense has limited opponents to 77.7 rushing yards per game (2nd in the NFL) and 3.4 yards per rush (3rd in the NFL).
DE Everson Griffen is 4th in the NFL with 12.0 sacks this season, the 3rd time in his career he has reached double digits (12.0 in 2014, 10.5 in 2015). LB Eric Kendricks, who has led the Vikings in tackles each of his 1st 2 seasons, is leading the Vikings with 108 tackles (coach stats) and has tied his career high with 13 tackles on 3 separate occasions this season (at PIT, vs BAL, at CLE). S Harrison Smith, who has 15 INTs and 9 sacks since entering the NFL in 2012, is joined by this week's opponent, Panthers LB Luke Kuechly, as the only 2 in the NFL since 2012 to have 11+ INTs and 7+ sacks.
NATIONAL TELEVISION: CBS
Play-by-Play: Jim Nantz Analyst: Tony Romo
Sideline: Tracy Wolfson
NATIONAL RADIO: ESPN RADIO
Play-by-Play: Adam Amin Analyst: Bill Polian
Sideline: Ian Fitzsimmons
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 – 10:00 a.m. CT
KFAN and KTLK serve as the flagship stations for the 72-station, 5-state Vikings Radio Network.
The Vikings defense has held opponents to 27.0% (40/148) 3rd-down conversion rate, the best mark in the NFL, while the offense has converted on 45.9% (74/161) of 3rd downs, 1st in the NFL.
WR Adam Thielen has the 2nd-most 3rd down receptions in the NFL (27), 21 of which have converted 1st downs, which also ranks 2nd in the NFL.
QB Case Keenum has completed 15 consecutive passes entering Week 14, 2 shy of passing Tommy Kramer's team record of 16 set at Green Bay on November 11, 1979.
Keenum enters Week 14 with a streak of 4 games with at least a 100 passer rating, tied with Brett Favre (11/1/09-11/29/09) and Daunte Culpepper (9/26/04-10/24/04) for the most in Vikings history.
TE Kyle Rudolph has caught 12 of his 13 RZ targets, the 2nd-most RZ catches by a TE in 2017.
The Vikings offense is tied for 6th in the NFL with 54 plays of 20+ yards, 13 of which have come on the ground, the 3rd most in the NFL behind the Eagles (17) and Saints (15).
The Vikings have 11 scoring drives of 80+ yards in 2017, 7 more than they totaled in all of 2016.
The Vikings have allowed only 14 sacks this season, the 2nd fewest in the NFL (Chargers, 13) and have had 5 games without allowing a sack, tying a franchise record for most in a single season.
Before being sacked at Detroit (11/23), QB Case Keenum went a franchise record 122 pass attempts without being sacked, breaking the previous team record of 118 by Daunte Culpepper in 2002.
The Vikings rush defense has allowed only 15 runs of 10+ yards in 2017 the fewest in the NFL. Tennessee is 2nd having allowed 22 such runs.
The Vikings defense ranks 2nd in red zone TD%, holding teams to a 38.7% TD rate while in the red zone, trailing only Jacksonville (36.8%).
STAT OF THE WEEK
Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph has collected 50 receptions for 465 yards and 6 TDs, 35 yards shy of his 2nd career 50-catch, 500-yard, 5-TD season, which would tie him for the most in Vikings history among all TEs
Seasons with 50+ receptions, 500+ yards, 5+ TDs - All-time Vikings TEs
Rk) Viking TE Seasons
1) Steve Jordan 2 - 1986, '88
2t) Kyle Rudolph 1 - 2016
2t) Joe Senser 1 - 1981
2t) Visanthe Shiancoe 1 - 2009
Panthers assistant DBs/nickels coach Jeff Imamura coached for the Vikings from 2006-13, serving as the defensive assistant/LBs coach from 2006-11 and the assistant secondary/safeties coach from 2012-13.
Panthers CB Captain Munnerlyn played for the Vikings from 2014-16 appearing in 47 games and making 30 starts.
Vikings C Joe Berger was drafted by the Panthers in the 6th round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Berger spent the 2005 training camp with the Panthers before being signed to their practice squad. Berger was signed off the Panthers practice squad by Miami during Week 1 of the 2005 season.
Panthers S Kurt Coleman spent the 2015 offseason with the Vikings before being released during final cuts.
Panthers T Matt Kalil was a 1st-round selection by Minnesota and played for the Vikings from 2012-16, starting all 66 games in which he appeared. Kalil was named the the Pro Bowl following his rookie campaign in 2012.
Vikings T Mike Remmers played for the Panthers from 2014-16, starting all 37 regular-season games he appeared in with the club and starting all 5 playoff contests, including Super Bowl 50.
Vikings assistant DL Coach Robert Rodriguez was on the Panthers practice squad in 2005.
Panthers assistant WRs Coach Cameron Turner spent time with the Vikings, serving as the assistant to the head coach from 2011-12.
Panthers assistant special teams coach Chase Blackburn played for the New York Giants in 2005 under Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, who was the Giants assistant special teams coach. Under the tutelage of Priefer, Blackburn led the Giants in special teams tackles that season.
Panthers WR Charles Johnson, who is currently on IR, played for the Vikings from 2014-16.
Panthers DE Zach Moore played for the Vikings in 2015, spending time on the club's practice squad before before joining the 53-man roster for the final 3 games and NFC Wild Card game. Moore spent the 2016 offseason and training camp with Minnesota before being released during final cuts.
Panthers G David Yankey, who is currently on IR, was drafted by the Vikings in the 5th round of the 2014 NFL Draft and played for the club from 2014-15, spending all the 2015 season on the practice squad.
Vikings C Nick Easton is a Lenoir, North Carolina native, located 75 miles northwest of Charlotte.
Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards is from Silver City, North Carolina and played football at Duke.
Panthers DE Zach Moore attended Concorida-St. Paul in the Twin Cities from 2009-13.
Vikings DE Danielle Hunter and Panthers G Trai Turner were teammates at LSU from 2012-13. Panthers WR Russell Shepard was also at LSU in 2012.
Vikings DE Everson Griffen (2007-09) joins 4 Carolina Panthers as former USC Trojans in Sunday's contest - DE Wes Horton (2008-12), T Matt Kalil (2008-11), C Ryan Kalil (2003-06) and CB Kevon Seymour (2012-15).
Panthers G Andrew Norwell (2010-13) and Vikings C Pat Elflein (2012-16) were teammates at Ohio State.
CB Terence Newman, as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, recorded 1 of his 5 career TDs after scoring on a 27-yard INT return vs Carolina (9/28/09).
Vikings DT Linval Joseph posted 10 total tackles against the Panthers as a member of the New York Giants two seasons ago (9/22/13).
Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph had 9 receptions and 97 yards vs. Carolina (10/13/13). Rudolph also registered 7 receptions for 70 yards and a TD in the meeting at Carolina (9/25/16) last season.
Vikings S Harrison Smith has recorded a sack in 2 consecutive games against the Panthers.
Vikings DE Everson Griffen sacked Cam Newton 3 times in the last matchup vs. Carolina (9/25/16) and 2 times in the contest at TCF Bank Stadium (11/30/14.)
WR Adam Thielen blocked a punt and returned in 30 yards for his 1st career TD vs. Carolina (11/30/14). The 30-yard return on the blocked punt was the longest in franchise history until Everson Griffen returned a blocked punt 43 yards in the 2nd quarter. The 2 blocked punt return touchdowns marked the 4th time since the 1970 merger and the 1st time since 9/30/90 (Kansas City Chiefs) that the feat has occurred.
Everson Griffen 4 games, 11 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 6 TFL, 1 FF
Danielle Hunter 1 game, 5 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 safety
Terence Newman 8 games, 36 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 INT return TD, 9 PD, 1 FF
Kyle Rudolph 4 games, 20 receptions, 189 yards, 3 TDs
Harrison Smith 3 games, 18 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 3 TFL
Record vs. Panthers Vikings 8-5
Last regular season game Vikings, 22-10 (2016)
Vikings largest winning margin 18; Vikings 31, Panthers 13 (2014)
Panthers largest winning margin 25; Twice (2005, 2013)
Current series streak Vikings 2
Vikings longest win streak 3, (1996-2000)
Panthers longest win streak 3, (2001-2005)
Most Points, Vikings 31, (2000, 2014)
Most Points, Panthers 38, (2005)
Most Points, both teams 51, Panthers 38, Vikings 13 (2005)
Fewest Points, Vikings 7, (2009)
Fewest Points, Panthers 3, (2006)
Fewest Points, both teams 26; Vikings 14, Panthers 12 (1996)
The Vikings have won 5 of their last 7 meetings against the Panthers.
The Vikings and Panthers have played one overtime game, a 16-13 Vikings victory in 2006.
This will be the 3rd regular season head-to-head meeting between Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer and Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera.
The Vikings and Panthers have never met in the postseason.
A WIN WOULD...
Be the best start to a season through 13 games since Mike Zimmer took over in 2014 and the best start for the franchise since starting 11-2 in 2009.
Move Zimmer's record as a head coach to 37-25 and give him his 3rd win against the Panthers in his 3rd game vs. the franchise.
Would be 9th straight win for the Vikings, the longest streak win streak for the team under Zimmer (8 games from 12/20/15-10/9/16).
Be the Vikings 6th consecutive road win, the most in team history in a single season.