10 takeaways from the Panthers’ loss at the Vikings in Week 12
By Dean Jones
LB group looks set
It’s amazing how good this linebacker unit looks without Tahir Whitehead. The free-agent signing was clearly holding them back if the last two weeks are any indication and this could lead to some more outstanding production after the bye week.
The Carolina Panthers have a true star in Jeremy Chinn, who managed to score two touchdowns on consecutive plays to start the second half, which completely shifted momentum in their favor. Shaq Thompson and Jermaine Carter also looked the part and having a dependable presence at the second level seem to be bringing more out of the defensive line.
The running game worked
Not having Christian McCaffrey available was a blow. But the Panthers once again got some solid production out of the backups who took the field.
Mike Davis got the majority of carries, which was to be expected given how well he’s done for the most part this season. However, the likes of Trenton Cannon and Rodney Smith also left their mark for a running back group that ended the game with 107 combined rushing yards on 28 carries. This is probably the last meaningful time any of them will see this season as McCaffrey looks set to return to the fold after the bye week.
Eric Kendricks was a problem
Eric Kendricks didn’t fall into the All-Pro team last season. He is one of the best in the business at middle linebacker and the veteran was a constant thorn in the Panthers’ side despite the eventual result.
Kendricks picked off Teddy Bridgewater in the first half and was always around the ball. The Vikings might have some problems on their defense overall, but their star linebacker remains at the peak of his powers.