4 Panthers players who need to step up at Vikings in Week 12

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Rasul Douglas
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Rasul Douglas /
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Carolina Panthers
(Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) Zach Kerr /

Zach Kerr – Carolina Panthers DT

One of the biggest surprises of the season from a performance perspective this season has been Zach Kerr. The defensive tackle has given a more prominent role by the Carolina Panthers than perhaps he even expected thanks to Kawann Short’s unavailability and he has thrived with the extra responsibility on his shoulders.

Kerr’s ability in run support has been a standout feature of his overall contribution, with the free-agent signing also recording one sack, eight quarterback hits, and six pressures to further enhance his overall influence on proceedings. The Panthers have rotated Efe Obada onto the defensive line in obvious pass-rushing situations to great effect of late and this is an area that can be exploited at the Vikings in Week 12.

Minnesota has real problems protecting the interior. Center Garrett Bradbury has shown tremendous promise but their two guard positions could do with a substantial upgrade in the offseason.

If Kerr and other players such as Obada and Derrick Brown can take full advantage of this, it will give them a tremendous chance of achieving a positive result. The primary focus should be stopping Dalvin Cook – which is easier said than done – but making quarterback Kirk Cousins uncomfortable consistently is another major factor that shouldn’t be overlooked.