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NFL Expert Picks: Vikings Aim for Return to Win Column Vs. Panthers

The Vikings will try to bounce back from a disappointing home loss to the Cowboys when Minnesota (4-6) hosts Carolina (4-7) at noon (CT) Sunday.

The Week 12 matchup features a Vikings squad that has won three of four but only has one victory (over the Lions) in five mostly fan-free or completely empty games this season at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Panthers snapped a five-game losing streak with a 20-0 blanking of the Lions in Week 11 and will be on their bye in Week 13.

Carolina is returning to Minnesota almost six years to the date of a 2014 game played outside at the University of Minnesota. The Vikings won that one 31-13 with Teddy Bridgewater posting his highest passer rating of his rookie season (120.7) and Minnesota blocking and returning two punts for touchdowns.

Panthers Head Coach Matt Rhule said Wednesday that Bridgewater is likely to return to action after missing Carolina's Week 11 game with an MCL sprain.

Happy Thanksgiving to all from the staff.

Let's see who the experts are picking to win:

Panthers 28, Vikings 27 — Gregg Rosenthal,

These teams are evenly matched, with efficient offenses doing their best to cover up holes defensively (especially rushing the passer). The status of Teddy Bridgewater and Christian McCaffrey makes a difference here, but I like that Carolina's coaching staff puts Teddy Two Gloves in more advantageous situations than Kirk Cousins by throwing more on early downs. In this Thanksgiving week, Teddy winning in Minnesota makes me sentimental.

Vikings 27, Panthers 21 — Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

The Vikings blew a game last week at home to the Cowboys and now need this game badly to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Panthers should have Teddy Bridgewater back to face his former team. Even so, I think the Vikings will find a way to bounce back with a better showing than last week. Dalvin Cook will have another big day.

Vikings 27, Panthers 21 — Bill Bender, Sporting News

The opportunity for a Teddy Bridgewater revenge game is appealing, but if he can't play P.J. Walker proved that that offense can still function. Kirk Cousins has more support, and he has thrown just one interception in his last four games. Dalvin Cook will keep the running game going.

Vikings 30, Panthers 13 — Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk

The Panthers defense is coming off a shutout of the Lions, but the Vikings offense should put up plenty of points on Sunday.

Vikings 28, Panthers 23 — Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk

Minnesota's window is closing. It won't slam shut just yet.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Panthers.

Pre-game win probabilities: Vikings 71% —

5 of 5 experts (three had not yet submitted) pick the Vikings, CBS Sports

7 of 7 experts pick the Vikings, USA TODAY Sports

3 of 3 experts (three had not yet submitted) pick the Vikings, The MMQB

4 of 4 experts (six had not yet submitted) pick the Vikings, ESPN


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