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Panthers vs. Vikings Game Preview | Week 6 | Sunday, 10/17 | 1 p.m. ET

Panthers vs. Vikings Game Preview | Week 6 | Sunday, 10/17 | 1 p.m. ET

The Vikings (2-3) have been on the wrong side of a number of close finishes in the fourth quarter and could very easily be 5-0 entering this game.

Kirk Cousins is in his fourth season in Minnesota as he looks to improve on his 27-24-1 overall record as a Viking. Cousins currently sits 11th in the NFL with a 103.7 passer rating, throwing for ten touchdowns with just two interceptions and 279.2 passing yards per game. He’s been sacked nine times in five games, tied for ninth-fewest in the NFL.

Dalvin Cook, one of the league’s top running backs over the last few years, has been nursing an ankle injury that initially kept him out of the Week 3 win against Seattle. He returned to little effect against Cleveland in Week 4 and was inactive again against the Lions on Sunday. He had been listed as questionable heading into the game, so his status will be something to track throughout the week.

Alexander Mattison has gotten a ton of run in Cook’s absence. He and Tennessee’s Derrick Henry are the only two players with 30+ touches in two or more games this season. Mattison rushed for 112 yards in Week 3 and added 153 scrimmage yards against the Lions.

Minnesota ranks 22nd in run defense with 130.0 yards allowed per game. Teams are averaging 4.74 yards per rush (29th) and 20.8 first downs per game (15th) against the Vikings. Conversely, the Vikings’ pass defense has been Top 10 in the NFL, especially when they get to the quarterback. Minnesota ranks second in the league with 17 sacks and has 86 pressures, according to PFF. Using EPA (Expected Points Added) metrics, the Vikings have a 7.53 total defensive pass EPA (5th) on all pass plays and a 33.17 pass sack EPA (2nd) on sack plays.

Danielle Hunter has 6.0 sacks and nine QB hits, tied for fourth in the league.

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