Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers Matchup Preview (10/17/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers Matchup Preview (10/17/21)

On Sunday, the Panthers suffered a disappointing loss to the Eagles in a game they truly should have won based on how both teams played. Sam Darnold threw three interceptions in an uncharacteristically poor game based on how he has played this season. Minnesota barely escaped with a win over the Lions in a game they should be none too pleased with either. Both of these teams are hopeful of making a bid for a Wild Card spot in the NFC, but they need to turn some things around to make that happen.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers Betting Odds

It’s hard to handle this game as both of these teams are talented but underperformed last week. The Vikings have incredible offensive talent, but Mike Zimmer seems unwilling to use them properly to help the team become an absolute juggernaut. However, Kirk Cousins is off to a hot start to the year, and the Vikings have an overwhelming amount of offensive talent. This game will be close, and for me, it comes down to whether or not Christian McCaffrey can go, as he’s been so crucial to Sam Darnold’s success. I’ll be back later in the week to update my pick, but I’m taking the Vikings on the road for now.

My predictions: Vikings win 24-20, Vikings cover, under 46 points

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TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, October 17th
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte, North Carolina
TV Coverage: FOX

Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers Live Stream

Where can you watch Vikings vs. Panthers online? You can stream this game, and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch Vikings vs. Panthers Free Online Now.

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Minnesota Vikings: RB Dalvin Cook (ankle) Q, DT Michael Pierce (elbow) Q, CB Cameron Dantzler (illness) IR COVID-19, CB Harrison Hand (undisclosed) IR COVID-19, TE Irv Smith (knee) IR
Carolina Panthers: RB Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) Q, OT Cameron Erving (neck) Q, OLB Shaq Thompson (foot) Q, CB Stephon Gilmore (quadriceps) PUP, CB Juston Burris (groin) IR, CB Jaycee Horn (foot) IR, CB Troy Pride (ACL) IR

Minnesota Vikings Analysis

Kirk Cousins has an excellent start to the season with a passer rating of 103.7, the 12th-best in the NFL, and a completion percentage of 69.6%, the seventh-best in the NFL. Cousins has also thrown ten touchdowns to just two interceptions. He’s been incredibly excellent in the red zone with a league-leading 81.3% completion rate and eight touchdowns to no interceptions inside the 20-yard line. The Panthers’ weakness has been in red-zone defense as they had allowed a touchdown on 80% of their red-zone trips on defense, the fourth-highest in the NFL, so Cousins should be highly efficient inside the 20 once again.

The Vikings’ offensive line has been one of the most exciting units in the NFL to watch as they are almost the converse of last season. In 2020, Minnesota ranked first in the NFL in run-blocking and 26th in pass protection, per Football Outsiders. This year, they are 26th in run-blocking and third in pass protection. Christian Darrisaw got on the field on Sunday for the first time, and it may be time for him to become the starter at left tackle as Rashod Hill has struggled so far. Cousins has stayed upright, though, which has helped him succeed as a passer.

Dalvin Cook has missed two of the past three games, but Alexander Mattison has played exceptionally well in his absence. Mattison has led the team with 61 carries for 245 yards over the past three weeks. Justin Jefferson is also in the midst of a hot stretch with over 100 yards in two of the past three games. Adam Thielen has slowed down a bit and hasn’t gone over 100 yards this season. Thielen also has yet to score a touchdown since Week 3, but he might change that this week. Tyler Conklin and K.J. Osborn provide ancillary support for this team.

The Vikings made an effort to improve their defense over the offseason, and it has led to them allowing the eighth-fewest points in the NFL so far. After not playing at all last season, Danielle Hunter has five sacks, tied for the fifth-most in the NFL. He and Everson Griffen provide a potent edge-rushing combination alongside a mix of talented interior defensive linemen. Bashaud Breeland is the weakness of this defense, and he has been burned several times this season. Still, Minnesota will be hopeful either Cameron Dantzler or Harrison Hand can return this week.

Minnesota Vikings Depth Chart

QB: Kirk Cousins
RB1: Dalvin Cook
RB2: Alexander Mattison
WR1: Justin Jefferson
WR2: Adam Thielen
WR3: K.J. Osborn
TE1: Tyler Conklin
TE2: Chris Herndon

Carolina Panthers Analysis

Everyone wants Sam Darnold to succeed so badly that we may overlook what has devolved into a poor start to the season with his new team. Darnold ranks just 26th in the NFL with an 85.1 passer rating and have thrown for six touchdowns and six interceptions. He will benefit from the eventual return of Christian McCaffrey. Still, five interceptions through two games has him looking eerily similar to some of the worst iterations of Jets’ Sam Darnold. The Panthers’ playoff hopes this season rest squarely on his shoulders, and he has to play better to get the team back in the win column.

Sam Darnold has undoubtedly been held back by an offensive line that ranks 24th in pass protection per Football Outsiders. Darnold has been sacked 14 times this season, tied for the fourth-most in the NFL, as the Panthers have yet to figure out a solution at correct tackle as both veteran Cam Erving and rookie Brady Christensen have struggled this season. Left tackle Taylor Moton and center Matt Paradis have played solid football, but the rest of the offensive line could be improved.

This week, Christian McCaffrey’s hopeful return could be huge for the team, but Chuba Hubbard has played pretty well in his absence. Hubbard had 24 carries for 101 yards last week and added five catches for 33 yards. Hubbard is not the all-purpose weapon that CMC is, though. D.J. Moore has had an excellent start to the year and has over 100 yards in two straight weeks before finishing with just five catches for 42 yards last week. Robby Anderson hasn’t lived up to preseason hype, but Terrace Marshall Jr. has shown flashes of future great play as a rookie.

The Panthers rank second in the NFL in defensive DVOA per Football Outsiders, but they have also faced the fifth-easiest schedule, so I’m not sold on them yet. Shaq Thompson, the team’s leader in tackles, is on the injury report and may not be able to suit up this week with a foot issue. Haason Reddick has been an excellent free-agent addition and leads the team with 6.5 sacks and nine QB hits. Brian Burns has been decent as a complementary pass-rushing presence. Done Jackson and A.J. Bouye have provided strong coverage in the secondary. The Panthers’ defense ranks third in points per game allowed, but I am not 100% sold on them as a top-tier unit.

Carolina Panthers Depth Chart

QB: Sam Darnold
RB1: Christian McCaffrey
RB2: Chuba Hubbard
WR1: D.J. Moore
WR2: Robby Anderson
WR3: Terrace Marshall Jr.
TE1: Tommy Tremble
TE2: Ian Thomas

Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers Daily Fantasy Picks

There are several top-tier names for fantasy football production in this matchup, but I have this as one of the lower-scoring games on the slate. Still, I have a ton of interest in D.J. Moore as he should see some coverage from Bashaud Breeland, who has been burned repeatedly. If Christian McCaffrey returns, you can confidently deploy him, although his upside may be too capped for GPP lineups. Of course, the same can be said for Dalvin Cook. Justin Jefferson is one of the best receivers in the NFL, and I don’t have any issue with putting him in your lineup, even against a solid defense.

Week 6 Matchup Previews
  • Bills @ Rams
  • Saints @ Falcons
  • Browns @ Panthers
  • 49ers @ Bears
  • Steelers @ Bengals
  • Eagles @ Lions
  • Colts @ Texans
  • Patriots @ Dolphins
  • Ravens @ Jets
  • Jaguars @ Commanders
  • Giants @ Titans
  • Chiefs @ Cardinals
  • Raiders @ Chargers
  • Packers @ Vikings
  • Buccaneers @ Cowboys
  • Broncos @ Seahawks
I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. With my educational background in the sports business and a strong knowledge of the inner workings of professional and collegiate sports, I hope to tell enthralling stories about the world of sports as it unfolds around me.

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