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What'd They Say: Panthers Talk About Vikings

Sam Bradford answered the bell Sunday on whether he was prepared to become Minnesota's starting quarterback.

Bradford, who joined the club on Sept. 3, helped the Vikings defeat the Packers 17-14 in the first regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Now, he and the Vikings (2-0) will be on the road and hitting the field against the defending NFC Champion Panthers (1-1), and they'll be doing so without running back Adrian Peterson, who had **successful surgery** Thursday to repair a torn meniscus, and left tackle Matt Kalil, who was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a hip injury.

Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera told Twin Cities media members that Bradford displayed a good arm and made good decisions on a night when he completed 22 of 31 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns.

"Watching him on TV and then watching the tape, he does exactly what [Vikings Offensive Coordinator] Norv [Turner] wants him to do and he does a nice job with those things," Rivera said. "It looks like he's already developing a nice little rapport with the different receivers he has. If you watch how he's connected with Stefon Diggs and used Kyle Rudolph, these guys are playmakers for him. Norv is going to try and put him into the best position to have success."

Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly discussed the Vikings efforts to replace Peterson with Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata.

"Adrian Peterson is Adrian Peterson," Kuechly said. "There's not a whole lot that needs to be said about him. Obviously he's a beast, he's an animal, he's a fun guy to watch, a fun guy to play against.

"It's a big piece, but I think their mentality is probably a lot like ours — when one guy goes down the next guy steps up," Kuechly added. "The two guys they have behind Peterson are both good players. I think Asiata does a good job, he's a good, physical, run-after-contact guy. He does a good job of holding onto the ball and he's not an easy guy to tackle.

"You look on the other side and McKinnon is a guy where if you give him just the smallest crease then he can score a touchdown," Kuechly continued. "He's got great speed, he's shifty, he's quick. I think that's a great thing to have with Adrian being banged up right now. It's a loss but with those two guys, I think they still have an opportunity to make gains in the run game."

Here are other highlights from comments made by Rivera and Panthers players in sessions with media members:

Rivera on the Vikings defense:

"I like their defense, I think Coach Z has done a nice job putting that group together. They're a dynamic bunch, opportunistic. As far as Linval [Joseph] and Sharrif [Floyd] are concerned, they're the two guys you have to deal with. When you're trying to block, you have to make sure you put your guys in position."

Kuechly on the Vikings defense:

"They play hard, and that's one thing you like to see. They're coached extremely well, they're where they need to be and they play hard. I think they have guys that play with a lot of effort, I think Everson Griffen is a fun guy to watch. He's a guy that just plays hard. In the back end, they have guys like that. I think Harrison Smith is fun to watch, [Andrew Sendejo], they're just good dudes who play hard, and you can tell they just love playing the game."

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton on the Vikings defense:

"A very athletic defense. They come from—show you a lot of different looks and we have to be aware of where they're bringing the blitz from. They're a very talented, very athletic bunch, starting with their front seven."

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (told

"It's a really good defense. We really have our work cut out for us this week. They're talented, they're multiple, they're very well-coached. This is a big one."

Panthers tackle Mike Remmers (told

They definitely have a great defense. Their front four and the linebackers — literally everyone on their team is great. It's going to be a great challenge for us up front."

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