The Minnesota Vikings face the Carolina Panthers in the middle game of a three-game home stand on Sunday. The Panthers are not living up to expectations after finishing with the second best record in the NFC last season. They have struggled with injuries on offense and poor play on defense. It is highly unlikely that either team will compete for the playoffs, but a win on Sunday will be a big momentum building moment toward next season.
The Carolina Panthers cut the face of the franchise, Steve Smith, and let the only other three wide receivers on the roster that caught a pass last season leave as free agents. Tight end Greg Olsen is the only proven receiver returning from last season’s squad. Olsen should be Cam Newton’s favorite target this season.
The Carolina Panthers had to win the last game of the season to get the NFC South title and a first-round bye so it’s not like it was a time they could rest their players. Steve Smith had to sit out with an injury, and there were not a lot of other options for Cam Newton to rely on, but there need to be.
Studs like Graham and Gronkowski are in a league of their own, but the position offers solid players.