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Vikings Attempt To Go Into Bye On High Note

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Date: 30 October 2011
Location: Charlotte, NC
Time: 12:00 PM Central Stadium: Bank of America Stadium
DirecTV Ch. 708
Know Thy Enemy: Cat Scratch Reader
Gonzo's Prediction: Vikings 23, Panthers 20
Final Score: Vikings 24, Panthers 21

It's Minnesota's last game before we go into that most evil of evils known as the bye week. The Vikings could use a victory here to give themselves something positive to go on during their week off. How do they do that, exactly? Well, here are the keys.

1) Harass Cam Newton - The Panthers' new quarterback has exceeded everybody's expectations this season, there's no doubt about it. That means that the Vikings are going to have to try to get pressure on him and knock him around a bit. Granted, for a guy Newton's size, that's easier said than done, but if the Vikings don't get Newton's uniform dirty, this afternoon is going to turn out to be a pretty long one for the Beloved Purple. Jared Allen faces a stiff test today in Panthers' tackle Jordan Gross, but Brian Robison, Kevin Williams, Everson Griffen and company are going to have to come up big in this one, too.

2) Run the football - The Panthers are 29th in the NFL against the run so far this season, and according to this article from Pro Football Focus, while their defensive ends have been solid this year, the interior of their defensive line has been pretty dreadful. Anthony Herrera is going to miss this one, with Joe Berger stepping into his spot. It will be up to Berger, the returning John Sullivan, and Steve Hutchinson to open things up inside for Adrian Peterson so that he can. . .well, continue being Adrian Peterson. After all, Newton and company can't score points while they're standing on the sidelines.

3) Keep winning the turnover battle - Despite their 1-6 record, the Vikings are actually +3 in the takeaway/giveaway department, while the Panthers are currently -5 for the year (although they were +3 in their win over the Washington Redskins last week). A team like the Vikings can't expect to be successful if they turn the ball over, and hopefully we will see rookie quarterback Christian Ponder improve on this aspect of his game from his performance last week. If the Vikings can keep the Panthers from getting extra possessions in this one, it will increase their chances of sneaking out of Charlotte with a victory.

Here's to another Vikings victory, continued development from our brand new quarterback, and a game that's fun for us Viking fans to watch. We haven't had a lot of those thus far.