Each week, BringMeTheNews will analyze the Vikings’ upcoming game from both sides, and give you “5 key reasons the Vikings will win.” This week the Vikings host Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
For 5 key reasons the Vikings should be worried, click here.
5. NFC South Struggles
Let's be honest with the Vikings and Panthers a combined 7-14-1 on the season, this isn't likely to be one of this week's featured matchups.
But believe it or not, despite having fewer wins than the Vikings the Carolina Panthers are still very much in the NFC South Division race. No one in the division has fewer than seven losses and at 3-7-1, they sit just a half game behind Atlanta and New Orleans for the division lead.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, it is plausible that the winner of the NFC South finishes at 5-11. The division has been so bad, it has some starting to wonder if the league needs to change its playoff structure.
The Vikings are 2-1 against teams from the South, including a 41-28 victory over Atlanta at TCF Bank Stadium, earlier this season.
4. All Things Kalil
It seems like a long time since Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. But it was just 2012. After a terrible start to the 2014 season, Kalil has become a whipping post for the Vikings issues along the offensive line.
With another season-ending injury upfront, everyone else including Kalil is going to be asked to do more. Obviously three penalties for 35 yards against Green Bay was a source of frustration.
But as the Star Tribune points out, the rest of the game for Kalil was really pretty good.
"For the first time all season, Kalil didn't allow his quarterback to hit the ground. The embattled left tackle allowed three hurries against the Packers, but no sacks or quarterback knockdowns. With Kalil stabilizing the left side, rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was sacked just twice."
For those of you who think that's too much of a stretch never fear, we will have more on Kalil in the 5 Key reasons he Vikings should be concerned about Carolina post.
3. Captain ready to stand out
Before Captain Munnerlyn came to Minnesota, he intercepted seven passes in 77 games as a member of the Carolina Panthers. Five of those, he returned for a touchdown for the Panthers.
After signing a three-year nearly $15 million contract with the Vikings, Munnerlyn told the Pioneer Press he thinks its time to get one against the Panthers.
"Oh, yeah, I've got to do that," Munnerlyn said. "That's mandatory.
Munnerlyn may have a little more fire than usual this week. Panthers corner Josh Norman took a shot at his former teammate in the Charlotte Observer.
"I didn't take nothing from him. Nothing," Norman said last week. "We weren't very tight. Captain had me doing so much little, petty stuff."
Norman whose locker was next to Munnerlyn's added that he thinks Munnerlyn had "little man syndrome."
"I'm bigger than him. I think I'm better than him. He knew it," said Norman.
Munnerlyn told the Pioneer Press he was surprised to hear those comments and called them a "slap in the face."
"I'm a Minnesota Viking now," he said. "I'm definitely going to be amped up and ready to go. I'm excited about it."
2. Teddy Touchdown
His two touchdowns against the Packers was a career high.
1. The Bud Grant Way
Former Vikings head coach Bud Grant won a lot of games in Minnesota – 158 of them to be exact. He led the team to four Super Bowls and has been enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
But on Monday, Grant will reach legendary status in Minnesota as the city of Minneapolis will dedicate a street to him.
The plans are now to dedicate the portion of 9th Avenue, and would replace the commemorative "Carew Drive," which has since moved near Target Field.
The majority of Grant's days as the Vikings head coach were spent pacing the sideline at Met Stadium, outdoors in the cold.
So it's only fitting that the day before the city of Minneapolis will dedicate a street outside of the under-construction Vikings Stadium, that his team would win a cold-weather game outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium.