4 Vikings players the Panthers should be worried about in Week 12

(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook /
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Carolina Panthers
(Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports) Harrison Smith /

Harrison Smith – S

Harrison Smith has long been renowned for being one of the league’s best safeties. The former Notre Dame standout has been a revelation from the moment he entered the NFL and he has been instrumental in the mini-turnaround following Minnesota’s bye week.

Smith has the ability to impact a game in so many different ways. He is an assured presence on the backend, can assist with run support at the second level with aplomb, and excels at the line of scrimmage when Mike Zimmer sends him on blitz packages.

When you take all this into account, there isn’t a more well-rounded safety operating anywhere. Smith is the driving force behind everything good on Minnesota’s defense and he will be striving to ensure Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t come away with a victory against his former team.

The Vikings do have some cornerback concerns despite the eye-catching progression of rookie first-round pick Jeff Gladney, but Bridgewater will know more than most the damage Smith can do all over the field if he isn’t accounted for correctly.

There is little any team can do to prevent Smith from making a big play or two during a game. But negating this as much as possible would be beneficial to their chances.