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Vikings Defense Dominant Against Panthers

The Vikings defense delivered a dominating performance against a prolific Panthers offense on Sunday.

Minnesota limited a Carolina team that scored 27 or more points in all but its two losses last season (one in the regular season; one in Super Bowl 50) to 10 points.

Danielle Hunter's sack of Cam Newton for a safety sparked a run of 22 unanswered points by the Vikings to snap the Panthers 14-game home winning streak.

Click here to watch a replay of the Vikings victory over the Carolina Panthers with NFL Game Pass.

Carolina became the seventh team in a row (including the postseason) to be limited to 17 or fewer points by the Vikings.

The Vikings sacked Newton eight times and intercepted the reigning NFL MVP three times in a dominating performance.

"Just do your job, that's what it comes down to," Hunter said. "Don't try to be a superhero or anything."

"We work very hard during the week. We all train and work on our technique. The coaches do a great job of training us," he added. "On game day, it shows. Our hard work is starting to show up."

The defense allowed Carolina to score on its opening two possessions as Minnesota trailed by double digits less than 10 minutes into the game.

The Panthers, who went 23-4 in games bookended by losses in 2014 and Sunday to the Vikings appeared to be rolling,  but Hunter helped swing the momentum in the Vikings favor when he powered his way into the backfield to sack Newton in the end zone for a safety late in the first quarter.

"We go down 10-0 but we don't blink," Barr said. "It's just the makeup of this team.

"We've got a great locker room and a great group of guys, and I'm just proud of the team," he added.

The Vikings allowed 205 yards of offense in the first half. But the defense cranked up the pressure over the final two quarters, sacking Newton six times as Minnesota pitched a second-half shutout.

Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen led the way with 3.0 sacks while Barr, Hunter, Brian Robison, Linval Joseph and Harrison Smith each had one.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Griffen showed his usual tenacity and toughness by battling through an illness to tie his single-game high in sacks.

"Trying to block him is an all-day affair," Zimmer said. "He's never going to take a play off.

"The great thing about him is that he is a tremendous football player but he is a tremendous team person as well," he added. "I think he understands the help that he gets from other guys and the other guys understand the help he [gives] them."

Carolina tallied just 101 net yards of offense in the second half.

Zimmer said the eight sacks were a combination of individual effort and designed pressures on Newton.

"I think defensively, they believe they can win in any situation," Zimmer said. "They work real hard, they study real hard, they play together as a team.

"When a guy messes up, he takes ownership of it," he added. "I think all the games continue to build (our) confidence with that group."

The Vikings, who have a plus-8 turnover margin, also picked off Newton three times. Cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Trae Waynes each had interceptions, and  defensive tackle Tom Johnson corralled the first pick of his career.

It all added up to another stellar afternoon for the Vikings, who have allowed just 40 points through three games this far.

"This team has a lot of fight, a lot of heart, a lot of character," Zimmer said.

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