4 key Panthers matchups to watch at the Vikings in Week 12

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Rasul Douglas /

Rasul Douglas vs. Justin Jefferson

It remains to be seen whether Donte Jackson’s toe problem will keep him out of a second straight game on Sunday. But the Carolina Panthers might be smart leaving him off the field and giving the cornerback a prolonged period of rest with the Week 13 bye coming up.

Not having Jackson available would pile more pressure on Rasul Douglas, something he handled extremely well during their shutout victory over the Lions. However, the Vikings possess an exceptional wide receiver tandem that is among the NFL’s best, and in Justin Jefferson, they have a star rookie who looks destined for greatness.

Jefferson will be no stranger to Carolina’s offensive coordinator Joe Brady, with the pair working closely together during LSU’s historic 2019 season that saw them secure a National Championship in convincing fashion. Having some additional information on the wideout will help Douglas, but stopping him from making a lasting impression on proceedings is another matter entirely.

Minnesota is still a run-first offense with Dalvin Cook and when the former Florida State standout builds up a head of steam, it enables the play-action to be far more dynamic. Jefferson is a big part of this going down the field, recording 848 receiving yards, 45 receptions, four touchdowns, 18.8 yards-per-catch, and an exceptional 90.9 grade from Pro Football Focus so far.

Douglas will have his work cut out whenever he’s lined up against Jefferson. But there is also a chance the free-agent signing is tasked with covering Adam Thielen providing the veteran comes off the reserve/COVID-19 list in time.