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
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /

Derrick Brown vs. Dalvin Cook

Derrick Brown has been as advertised during his rookie season. The defensive tackle is a stout presence against the run who can cause disruption in the backfield if left unattended, which is a scenario that has been few and far between this season after Pro Bowler Kawann Short underwent season-ending shoulder surgery that will probably end his time with the Carolina Panthers.

One of Brown’s primary objectives at the Vikings will be to stop running back Dalvin Cook from gaining valuable yards between the tackles. The former second-round selection has been firing on all cylinders in 2020 and is once again in contention for the NFL’s rushing title of he continues his outstanding run of form down the stretch.

Minnesota does have some trouble protecting on the interior, although they are much better in run blocking than they are in passing situations. Brown must continue his eye-catching development and get to the point of attack quickly when Cook decides to run up the middle rather than go out on the edge.

There isn’t a lot any team in the league can do to stop Cook, who has already accumulated 1,303 all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns this season. However, if Brown and the Panthers’ defense can limit his influence, they’ll have a great chance of winning.