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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Instant analysis: Vikings shut down Newton, upset Panthers

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings are 3-0 after beating the Carolina Panthers 22-10. Minnesota’s offense was limited, but they shut down 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton and got a little help on special teams to rack up their third straight victory.

Here are some things that stuck out in the win…

– Mike Zimmer’s defensive line made life miserable for Newton. They sacked him eight times for a total of 64 yards lost. Everson Griffen dominated Michael Oher, sacking Newton three times and pressuring him consistently throughout the game. Linval Joseph, Danielle Hunter and Brian Robison also added sacks. The Vikings defense also held Newton to just 26 yards rushing.

– Sam Bradford struggled out of the gate, but came out with a huge touchdown drive in the second half to get the Vikings ahead and continued to move the ball through the air in the second half. He was only sacked twice and did not turn the ball over. Bradford finished the game 18-for-28 for 171 yards and one touchdown. Between Hill and Bradford, Vikings quarterbacks are yet to turn the ball over this season. As much as Minnesota’s line struggled, he was only sacked twice.

– Kyle Rudolph was again a favorite target for Sam Bradford. He caught seven passes for 70 yards including a touchdown. Stefon Diggs did not have the numbers of last week with only four catches for 40 yards, but did come up with several important receptions.

– Outside of a missed extra point, the Vikings’ special teams were outstanding. They received a punt return for touchdown by Marcus Sherels, several quality punts from Jeff Locke and several nice plays on punt returns by Cordarrelle Patterson.

– Xavier Rhodes was back in the lineup at cornerback. The Panthers did not often throw against him. Kelvin Benjamin was completely shut out. Stunningly, he was only targeted one time and it was nearly intercepted. The Vikings’ secondary also caused several “coverage” sacks. Harrison Smith, as per usual, blew up several plays and sacked Newton late in the game.

– It’s a low bar, but the Vikings had their best running day of the year with Jerick McKinnon leading the way. He gained 45 yards on 16 carries and caught one pass. He made a terrific cut to score on Minnesota’s 2-point conversion attempt

The post Instant analysis: Vikings shut down Newton, upset Panthers appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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