coleryan Posts:11965 Followers:19
On 10/07/2013 04:19 PM in NFL

Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings: Preview and Pick

Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings: Preview and Pick

This Sunday when week six of the NFL regular season kicks off, it will feature two teams that are looking to get a big win and get back on track. The Carolina Panthers are off a very bad loss to the Arizona Cardinals and with a coach on the hot seat, the team is struggling to find chemistry on the field. The Minnesota Vikings love their coach, but they were not confident in their quarterback after some injuries and they went out and acquired Josh Freeman who was a free agent after being cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Vikings listed as (-2) point favorites, most due to their home dome advantage in this game. After the ugly loss against the Cardinals, the public started betting on the Vikings in this contest. Over 80 percent of the early wagers coming in are backing the purple home team and it has caused a line shift. The line can now be found at (-2.5) at most of the top rated online sportsbooks.

The Panthers lost starting left guard Amini Silatolu with a knee injury in the third quarter against Arizona, but they will have to do a better job of protecting Cam Newton. All of Cam Newton's sacks and interceptions Sunday came against at least five pass rushers. The Cardinals used such pressure 60% of the time against Newton, who had already faced at least five rushers on a league-high 44% of drop backs entering the game. The Vikings will bring the heat in this game.

Check the latest news leading up to the game to see if the Vikings will be starting the newly acquired Freeman at quarterback.
The latest football betting trends for this game reveal some interesting wagering angles for the football betting fan to consider. The total has gone under in 6 of Minnesota's last 7 games when playing at home against Carolina, but the total has gone over in 5 of Minnesota's last 6 games at home. Minnesota is 5-2 straight up in its last 7 games when playing at home against Carolina and 4-1 straight up in the dome over the last five games overall. This is a tough spot for the Panthers who are just 7-17-1 straight up in the last 25 games on the NFL highway.

Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings Pick

With plenty of time to go before kickoff of this week, I will wait to announce my pick when we get closer to game day. Check back the day of the event for my pick on this great game.

coleryan Posts:11965 Followers:19
10/08/2013 01:57 PM

The Panthers entered the year knowing their offensive line was a mess, and it keeps getting worse.

A day after allowing seven sacks in a 22-6 loss to the Cardinals, the Panthers lost left guard Amini Silatolu for the season with a torn ACL, according to Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer.

Silatolu, the team’s second-round pick in 2012, was beginning to show signs of competence, and at least giving the Panthers a solid side of a line along with center Ryan Kalil and veteran left tackle Jordan Gross.

They’ll likely use veteran Travelle Wharton in that spot, but they’re extremely thin on the line, and the right side has been a persistent problem all year.

coleryan Posts:11965 Followers:19
10/08/2013 02:11 PM

The Vikings gave Freeman a one-year deal worth about $3 million, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

All totaled, Freeman will make more than $11.4 million until he becomes a free agent this winter, factoring in the $2.479 million the Bucs paid him at the start of the season, the $5.9 million in termination pay from the team, and his new deal with Minnesota.

Freeman also had been linked to the Bills and Raiders since being released by the Bucs on Thursday after a tumultuous season for the quarterback and the team that made him the 17th overall pick in the 2009 draft.

The Vikings add Freeman to a quarterback depth chart that already includes Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel -- who started in place of an injured Ponder in Minnesota's only win of the season.

The Vikings still will list Ponder as their starter, a team source told ESPN Senior NFL Analyst Chris Mortensen, though he is recovering from a fractured rib.

"I think Josh Freeman is a good player," a Vikings source told ESPN's Josina Anderson. "We just have to figure out where things went wrong in Tampa Bay so we can help him. He is too young not to progress."

Cassel started last week in a 34-27 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in London. The team is coming off a bye week as it begins preparations for its Week 6 home game against the Carolina Panthers. With the addition of Freeman, the Vikings are likely to release third-string QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, sources said.

Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik contacted all 31 other teams in an attempt to trade Freeman, sources told ESPN.com on Thursday, but were unable to find a taker.

Freeman was in the final year of his rookie contract. The Buccaneers entered the season fully willing to pay him as a franchise quarterback as long as he demonstrated he was worthy with his performance on the field, sources said.

Freeman was benched in favor of rookie Mike Glennon prior to Tampa Bay's 13-10 loss to Arizona in Week 4. In 60 career games, Freeman has thrown for 13,534 yards, 80 touchdowns and 66 interceptions. He is the franchise's leader in career TD passes.

Last season, Freeman threw for 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns. He had two touchdown passes and three interceptions this season before he was benched.

coleryan Posts:11965 Followers:19
10/09/2013 11:01 PM

The Minnesota Vikings solidified one piece of their defensive line puzzle on Wednesday afternoon, signing defensive end Brian Robison to a four-year contract extension.

Terms weren't disclosed, but a source told ESPN.com's John Clayton that the deal is worth $28.3 million and Robison will receive a $5 million signing bonus and have a guarantee of $12.15 million.

Robison said negotiations heated up between the Vikings and his agent, Vann McElroy, during the bye week, and he signed the deal Tuesday morning.

"Me and my family sat down and talked about things, and we realized there are not a whole lot of guys in the league that get to start and end their career in one place," Robison said. "This is an opportunity for me to do that."

coleryan Posts:11965 Followers:19
10/09/2013 11:01 PM

The Minnesota Vikings went into the 2013 season with five defensive linemen -- Jared Allen, Brian Robison, Kevin Williams, Everson Griffen and Fred Evans -- in the final years of their contracts. It stood to reason the team would try to lock up a couple of those players before they hit free agency, but it seemed hard to believe all of them would be in a Vikings uniform next season.

On Wednesday, we saw the first steps of the Vikings' plan. And as expected, it began with some of their younger players.

Robison, who turned 30 in April, signed a four-year, $28.3 million contract extension on Wednesday. And a league source said the Vikings have talked with Griffen about a new deal, though discussions have been in general terms and haven't yet involved an exchange of numbers.

All that leads to an obvious question: What is next for Allen?

Allen said before the season that the Vikings did not ask him to reduce his contract, which carries a cap number of $17.06 million, and Allen is playing out a deal that has not been renegotiated since it started in 2008. That is a rare thing in the NFL these days, but for the Vikings to extract any money from the final year of Allen's deal, they would have had to offer him a contract extension, which Allen said before the season had not happened.

Allen has been one of the league's best defensive ends for most of his career, and has 3 1/2 sacks in four games this year. But he will be 32 before next season, and has expressed his excitement about hitting the open market next spring. When he is still the Vikings' most productive defensive end, and he is this close to free agency, locking Allen up at this point would cost the Vikings plenty. The biggest bill they have coming due in 2014 might be tight end Kyle Rudolph, who will be in the final year of his rookie contract, but even if the Vikings had cap room, it is possible they would not want to have long-term commitments to three defensive ends, especially when two of them are older than 30.

Williams voided the final year of his contract when he renegotiated his deal this spring, and if the six-time Pro Bowler comes back to the Vikings next year, it probably wouldn't be on a large contract, especially with rookie Sharrif Floyd in the fold. The Vikings' moves to lock up -- or at least offer contracts to -- their younger players might be another signal that Allen, too, could be joining Williams on the way out, in what would be a major turnover for one of the league's most successful defensive lines.

coleryan Posts:11965 Followers:19
10/09/2013 11:04 PM

There were no mats on the floor or mirrors on the walls. The lighting wasn't soft and the thermostat wasn't turned up to create a warm environment.

But Cam Newton's Wednesday media availability did have an element of yoga to it as he was asked to look within and find what he must do to improve, as teammate Steve Smith suggested all of the Carolina Panthers should.

"For me, I feel like I can be more consistent,'' the third-year quarterback said.

By definition, consistency is the achievement of a level of performance that does not vary greatly in quality over time. By definition, Newton hasn't been consistent.

Sunday's 22-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals was a microcosm of his career. He began 5-for-5 for 70 yards, and would have been 6-for-6 for 74 yards and a touchdown had Smith not dropped a pass in the end zone.

Newton was 14-for-21 for 215 yards at halftime. He was 7-for-18 for 93 yards in the second half.

Inconsistent.

Newton has gone 38-for-60 for 452 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in the first half of Carolina's three losses. He's gone 20-for-40 for 210 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the second.

That's a 63 percent completion rate in the first half, 50 percent in the second.

Inconsistent.

It should be noted that Carolina (1-3) led in each of those losses, as it did in its win over the New York Giants. But against New York, Newton got better as the game progressed. He was 10-for-22 for 112 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the first half; 5-for-5 for 111 yards and two touchdowns in the second.

Better than consistent.

The lack of consistency isn't new to this season for the first pick of the 2011 draft. Newton's accuracy has steadily declined since his rookie season.

He completed at least 60 percent of his passes in eight games in 2011. He's done that just seven times since the start of 2012. He has completed 60 percent of his passes in consecutive games just once since the start of 2012, and not at all since the first two weeks of last season.

To put that in perspective, with help from ESPN Stats & Information, 22 other quarterbacks have had more games with a 60 percent completion rate than Newton since the start of 2012. Among them are Cleveland's Brandon Weeden (nine) and Minnesota's Christian Ponder (10), who is battling Matt Cassel for the starting job against Carolina on Sunday.

Atlanta's Matt Ryan leads all players with 20 during that span, with Denver's Peyton Manning -- in about the only category he's second this season -- next with 18.

Ryan is one of the exceptions to the rule that consistency leads to wins. He's completed 69.5 percent of his passes, fifth-best in the league this season, but the Falcons are 1-4. All of those ranked ahead of him -- Manning, Dallas' Tony Romo, San Diego's Philip Rivers and New Orleans' Drew Brees -- are on teams with a combined 14-6 record.

Newton knows he has to become more consistent, from his accuracy to getting rid of the ball instead of taking a sack as he did way too many times against Arizona to carrying out his fake better. Coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Mike Shula have said Newton needs to be more consistent.

Consistency makes Newton and the offense more efficient. Not to pin success all on one player, but as left tackle Jordan Gross said after the New York win, when Newton's hot, the Panthers are hot.

A good place to start is with consistency, particularly in the second half.

"It's more on my behalf that I've just got to focus in and hone in on my skills and say, 'Hey, let me focus more in the second half, get the job done,'" Newton said. "It's a pointed stat that is very vital. If we think we're going to make this next step, I need to step up my game playing in the second half.''

coleryan Posts:11965 Followers:19
10/10/2013 01:48 PM

The Minnesota Vikings recently made the move to sign former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman, but we know that he will not get the immediate start this week against the Carolina Panthers as he continues to learn the new offense.

That would leave the Vikings once again rolling with either Matt Cassel or Christian Ponder under center, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the team is expected to go with Cassel as the Week 6 starter despite Ponder being medically cleared for his broken rib.

coleryan Posts:11965 Followers:19
10/11/2013 11:46 AM

Shaky quarterback play has been at the root of the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers' problems thus far.

Their Week 6 matchup Sunday in Minnesota could mark the final game before Josh Freeman takes over for the Vikings, while Carolina is counting on Cam Newton to turn things around.

Freeman practiced with Minnesota (1-3) for the first time Wednesday since signing with the club Sunday. But coach Leslie Frazier ruled out any possibility that Freeman would start this week's game as he tries to digest a different offensive system.

All signs point to Frazier again giving the start to Matt Cassel, who took first-team reps in practice. Cassel completed 16 of 25 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns in his first game for Minnesota, a 34-27 victory over Pittsburgh in London on Sept. 29.

"One thing you can expect in the NFL: expect the unexpected," Cassel said. "Because every week it changes. You never know what's going to happen. I learned that over time. This is my ninth year now."

Allowing Cassel that opportunity was a rib injury suffered by Christian Ponder, who is still limited in practice. Even if healthy, Ponder may have started his last game for the Vikings after throwing two TDs compared to five interceptions with a 65.9 passer rating in three contests this year.

Selected 12th overall by the Vikings in 2011, Ponder has one year remaining on his contract.

"On the surface, he'd question that," Frazier said. "He's human. I'm sure he has at times, but he just has to continue to work and work as hard as he can. And I think things will work out fine for Christian in the long term."

The Panthers (1-3) are enduring their third slow start in as many years with Newton at the helm after going 1-5 and 1-6 the previous two seasons. Their 22-6 loss at Arizona last week marked the first time since Nov. 13, 2011, that they failed to score a TD.

Newton was just 21 of 39 with three interceptions.

His 78.4 rating on the season is the lowest of his career and he's also found the end zone just once on the ground after totaling 22 rushing scores over the last two years.

Carolina ranks 27th in scoring (18.5 ppg) and 24th in total offense (329.0 ypg).

Newton also shouldered some of the blame for the team's second-half flops, as Carolina held a halftime lead in each of its losses.

"I think it's more on my behalf that I have to focus in and hone in on my skills and say 'Look, let me focus more in the second half and get the job done,'" said Newton, who was 22 of 35 for 290 yards and three touchdowns while also running six times for 53 yards in a 24-21 loss to Minnesota on Oct. 30, 2011.

Coach Ron Rivera pointed to shortcomings at other positions, particularly along the offensive line, which has surrendered 15 sacks, including seven to the Cardinals. He ruled left guard Amini Silatolu out for the rest of the season Monday due to a torn right ACL. The unit was already shorthanded after losing right guard Garry Williams for the year in Week 1.

"Teams are going to blitz us because they've had success blitzing us," left tackle Jordan Gross said. "We have to pick up the stuff we've seen them do and then the stuff we've haven't seen them do we have to adjust on the fly. We're going to see a lot of different looks and we have to do a better job of picking them up."

One player trying to get to Newton on Sunday will be defensive end Brian Robison, who signed a four-year extension Wednesday that could be worth up to $28 million.

Steve Smith has caught 37 passes for 625 yards and four TDs in six career games against Minnesota, including a career-best 201-yard performance in a 38-13 victory on Oct. 30, 2005.

The Vikings have scored a first-quarter touchdown in eight straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL, while the Panthers' streak of holding their last eight opponents scoreless in the first quarter is also the league's longest.

Minnesota has won its last six home games immediately following a bye and is 5-2 against Carolina at the Metrodome.

coleryan Posts:11965 Followers:19
10/11/2013 12:07 PM

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson missed practice this week to be in South Dakota for what orginally was vaguely described as a "medical issue involving a young family member."

Now, according to TMZ, Peterson's two-year-old son is in critical condition in a South Dakota hospital after he was allegedly beaten by the man dating the boy's mother.

Officials told TMZ the suspect is Joseph Patterson, who has been charged with aggravated felony assault and battery of an infant.

Authorities haven't confirmed that the child is Peterson's son (and at least one report says it isn't).

Details via the Argus Leader:
The child was alone in Patterson's home at Platinum Valley Apartments, where he'd recently moved with his mother. Patterson called 911 to report a choking on Wednesday evening, but Lt. Blaine Larsen of the Sioux Falls Police Department said it became clear at the hospital that the boy's injuries were not accidental. ...

The child was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he remained in critical condition Thursday night, Larsen said. An examination led doctors to suspect that the boy's injuries were “consistent with abuse” and not accidental, Larsen said.

Patterson has a son with another Sioux Falls, SD, woman who, according to court records, had asked for protection orders twice, claiming that Patterson had choked and punched her, threatened her with a knife and held her in the bedroom against her will.

According to the Leader, the assault-on-an-infant charge "involves blows, shaking or causing a child's head to sustain impact with an object in a manner that causes bleeding or swelling on the brain. The crime is punishable by up to 25 years in prison."

Peterson returned to Eden Prairie, MN, and is expected to be at practice Friday, according to ESPN.

coleryan Posts:11965 Followers:19
10/11/2013 06:49 PM

The 2-year-old son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson died Friday afternoon in Sioux Falls, S.D., from injuries sustained during an aggravated assault on Thursday, police said.

Police are not releasing the boy's name out of respect for the family, but Peterson's father, Nelson Peterson, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press the child is Peterson's son. The child had been in critical condition in a South Dakota hospital