4 keys to victory for the Panthers at Vikings in Week 12

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Efe Obada /

Interior pressure

The Vikings have gotten some nice production from their tackle duo of Riley Reiff and Brian O’Neill this season. But the same cannot be said of those occupying the guard positions.

Pat Elflein was less than stellar and was eventually released and players such as Dakota Dozier and Dru Samia just aren’t up to the required standard. Minnesota does have a promising young prospect in Ezra Cleveland, but he won’t be on the field after being ruled out.

Defensive coordinator Phil Snow will be all-too-aware of this and gameplan accordingly. The Carolina Panthers generated some considerable pressure for the first time against the Lions last time out and focusing on the interior could bring even more in the way of success in this one.

Derrick Brown and Zach Kerr have 12 pressures to their name this season. But the emergence of Efe Obada as a pass-rushing force from the defensive tackle position has really caught the eye in recent weeks.

The Nigerian-born player has 3.5 sacks over the last two games. So expect to see plenty of him against a suspect area of the Vikings’ offense.

Preventing Dalvin Cook from gaining yards is more important. However, the more uncertainty Carolina can put in the head of Kirk Cousins without his most experienced receiver in Adam Thielen is going to be pivotal to their chances.