EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) — It will be another test against another top quarterback. What else is new for the Minnesota Vikings?

This week, it’s the Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton. As WCCO’s Mike Max reports, it’s about a few tweaks, but it’s also about being what you’ve been in the first 13 games.

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The Vikings defense is impressing everyone, including its own quarterback.

“They’re great at disguising. Our safeties are so smart, corners have done a great job of covering guys,” Vikings quarterback Case Keenum said.

The Vikings will be playing outdoors of course this week, but it probably won’t require a snow blower. Their biggest concern on the field will be the quarterback.

Newton is the man who makes it all happen, the face of the franchise. The player you game plan around.

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“He’s a very, very talented athlete. They’re doing a few different things with him now. He’s got a very strong arm, he’s competitive,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.

They know that, and this defense knows how to defend. They have done it to Newton before, with a recipe.

“You’ve got to get him on the ground. He’s hard to get on the ground and you’ve got to rush him well,” Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen said. “You’ve got to find a way at him and wrap him up, because he’s a big guy.”

So the goal is clear, and this Vikings defense understands the task. A different player, a different team, but the same approach.

“You know it’s kind of the same thing every week. Got to stop the run, get them behind schedule, get them in third-and-long,” Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo said. “Try to get off the field, get turnovers. The same stuff every week really.”

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The Vikings can win the NFC North title Sunday with a win at Carolina or losses by the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.

Mike Max