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Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers: First Quarter Open Thread

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (10-2) WK 14 CAROLINA PANTHERS (8-4)

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Date: 10 December 2017
Location: Charlotte, NC
Time: 12:00 PM Central Stadium: Bank of America Stadium
TV: CBS
DirecTV Ch 706
Radio: Vikings Radio Network
XM Ch 82 (CAR)
Sirius Ch 113
TV Announcers: Jim Nantz
Tony Romo
Know Thy Foe: Cat Scratch Reader
Weather: 41 degrees, wins from W at 5-10 MPH, 0% chance of precipitation
Line: Minnesota -3, Over/Under 40 (Thanks to the SB Nation odds page)
Chris' Prediction: Vikings 23, Panthers 17
Final Score: Panthers 31, Vikings 24

Here are the ground rules for the Game Threads:

-Thou shalt not link illegal feeds of today's game, or I shall kick thy arse to the curb until the game is over. Do not promote then, do not mention them, do not even hint at them. Thou hast been warned.

-Thou shalt make an attempt to keep the swearing to a minimum. Understandable that it will slip occasionally, but do try to limit it. If you really feel the need to curse, use the spoiler tags to keep it covered up. We'll get the sentiment.

-Thou shalt not feed the trolls. Rather, thou shall simply point them out, and they shall be banished to the fires of Mordor. Or Wisconsin. Whichever we feel is more harsh at the time.

-Thou shalt not engage in racist, sexist, or other such insulting rhetoric. Somebody disagreeing with you does not make them racist or sexist. It means they disagree with you. Talk it out like adults.

-Thou shalt not bait the fans of other teams into trolling.

-Basically, thou shalt not be a jackwagon in the game thread.

Today, the Minnesota Vikings finish up a rough three-game road trip with an opportunity to clinch the NFC North for the second time in three years. Their opponent today is the Carolina Panthers, who are still fighting for both the NFC South division title and a spot in the NFC playoffs as well.

So, what do the purple need to do to get their ninth consecutive victory today and finish their post-bye "gauntlet" at 5-0?

1) Hit Cam Newton. . .like, a lot - Cam Newton has not had a lot of success against Mike Zimmer defenses, as he has just one touchdown pass to four interceptions in his two games against the Vikings in Zimmer's tenure. That's because he's constantly under siege, and the Vikings need to follow a similar path today. Newton has been one of the worst quarterbacks in football against the blitz, and if the Vikings can get to him early and rattle him, they can take control of this one early. By the way, former Vikings tackle Matt Kalil is now Carolina's starter at left tackle. If you don't think Everson Griffen has had this one circled all year, you haven't been paying attention.

2) Continue limiting mistakes - Case Keenum has been playing very good football, and the Vikings have done a great job of limiting their turnovers in recent weeks. Keenum hasn't thrown an interception since his pair of YOLO passes against Washington after the bye, and the team hasn't been putting the ball on the turf, either. As we've seen with this defense, when teams have to travel long distances they have difficulty putting points on the board. Not giving the Panthers extra opportunities will go a long way towards a potential victory today.

3) Take care of your own business first - The Vikings can clinch the NFC North by winning this afternoon, and they can also get in if both Green Bay and Detroit lose. The rest of their competition in the NFC playoffs has either already played or is playing in the late afternoon games today. That means the Vikings should be able to concentrate on the task at hand, and can hopefully win the NFC North on their own terms rather than having to wait on everyone else.

We're still going to have a new Game Thread at the start of every quarter, but the recaps probably won't be as detailed as they usually are because I've got a bunch of other things to take care of today. However, we'll make sure that things are taken care of the way they always are, so keep an eye open for the new threads. With that, enjoy this afternoon's game, and hopefully in a few hours we'll be celebrating an NFC North division championship.

SKOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL VIKINGS!!!!