Panthers at Vikings: Joe Person’s three things to watch

October 12, 2013 

  • More information Panthers at Vikings Where: Metrodome, Minneapolis When: 1 p.m. Watch: Fox, (Sam Rosen, Brian Billick, Laura Okmin)

All up on Adrian Peterson

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is off his pace from last season, when he ran for 2,097 yards and fell just 9 yards short of Eric Dickerson’s single-season record. Peterson has been dealing with the death of his 2-year-old son last week, but is expected to play. The back known as “All Day” showed two years ago against the Panthers he can impact a game in other ways. He had a career-high 76 receiving yards, including a career-long 63-yard touchdown catch.

Counter the blitz

After seeing the Panthers’ offensive line and quarterback Cam Newton struggle against the Cardinals’ blitz last week, Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams almost certainly will try to get Newton rattled with pressure. The Panthers need to take advantage of that aggressiveness with screens, draws and more runs for Newton, who is at his best when he’s making plays with his feet as well as his arm. Letting Newton sit in the pocket the whole game is asking for trouble.

Quiet the crowd

The Panthers had a chance to do this last week at Arizona, but Steve Smith dropped a touchdown pass on the first offensive series. It was the first of several Carolina miscues that allowed the Cardinals to hang around and kept their crowd in the game. It will be tough enough for the Panthers to keep defensive end Jared Allen and Co. off Newton. It will be almost impossible if the Panthers fall behind early and have to throw to catch up while the Metrodome is rocking.

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