3 keys to victory for the Carolina Panthers vs. Vikings in Week 4

This is a must-win game for the Carolina Panthers.
Miles Sanders
Miles Sanders / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers must stop the short game

The Minnesota Vikings, and mostly Justin Jefferson, are going to make explosive plays. It is just going to happen. The key to beating a team like this is much like it was with Tyreek Hill and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Take away the easy throws. Let the Vikings have their big play, but keep them out of the end-zone when it matters.

If the Carolina Panthers can somehow lock down the run and the short passing game led by tight end T.J. Hockenson, there is a chance this game could be kept closer than most expect. Without that safety blanket, it becomes that much harder to convert on third down and convert red-zone opportunities into touchdowns.

Of course, this doesn't mean that you don't try to cover the deep ball. It just means that Carolina takes those resources and puts them in a place where they may do some good.

Put Jeremy Chinn near the line of scrimmage as an extra linebacker. Bring in whoever is left that can play nickel cornerback and use that loaded box to force the Vikings to beat you on the outside.

This may seem like exactly the opposite of what you would want to do. But it might be the only way for the Panthers to keep this respectable.