4 silver linings from the Panthers’ loss at Vikings in Week 12

(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Stantley Thomas-Oliver
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Stantley Thomas-Oliver /
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Carolina Panthers
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brownbet we /

An improving defense

Yes, there were some questionable play-calls down the stretch and a 75-yard drive that was given up at the most crucial of moments. But the Carolina Panthers’ defense showed some real improvements once again against a Vikings offense that was still loaded with playmakers despite the absence of Adam Thielen.

Holding star running back Dalvin Cook to 64 rushing yards on 18 carries was a testament to how well they clamped down on the former Florida State standout from the outset. They set the tone early and came up with some big-time plays early in the second half that resulted in Jeremy Chinn becoming the first defender in NFL history to score touchdowns on consecutive downs.

This completely shifted the momentum of the game, even though the Panthers couldn’t see it out down the stretch.

Stop me if you’ve heard that one before.

Carolina’s defense created three turnovers in the game – two of which were taken for scores. This is normally enough to win any game of football, which makes it all the more frustrating that they couldn’t come away from U.S. Bank Stadium with a win.

There are still some problems generating pressure on occasions and their secondary needs a slight shakeup during the offseason. But the foundation is there to build a productive group.