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
(Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater /

Get Teddy Bridgewater into an early rhythm

Teddy Bridgewater is bound to have some nerves going up against his former team, even though there won’t be any fans in the stands at U.S. Bank Stadium. This is to be expected given all he’s been through to get to this point and the Carolina Panthers must get him a rhythm early.

It’s easy to forget that Bridgewater might not be at 100 percent. He missed last week with an MCL sprain and although it’s been all systems go in practice, it is a situation worth keeping a close eye on.

The former first-round pick has a relaxed and calming demeanor. But he wouldn’t be human if the butterflies weren’t in his stomach coming up against some players and coaching staff that was in Minnesota when they decided to part ways with the signal-caller in 2017.

Offensive coordinator Joe Brady must dial up the right place that can generate some momentum and enable Bridgewater to play the game and not the occasion. Carolina is loaded with playmakers who can make a difference on any given down and the quarterback has been able to move the chains efficiently during his ten games under center.

How Bridgewater copes with Mike Zimmer’s familiarity and an increased spotlight on his production will be fascinating. This could be the big game Panthers fans have been waiting for from their biggest free-agent signing, providing everything clicks into place from the outset.