Most of the World Believes Vikings Will Lose in Carolina

Justin Jefferson Taking
Nov 29, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings began the week as 1.5-point underdogs for their Week 6 contest at the Carolina Panthers.

By midweek, Minnesota is favored by one point, so the matchup between the Vikings and Panthers is damn near a pick ’em. Carolina started the season surprisingly well, rattling off three wins with a quarterback who looked cured by geography.

That enthusiasm was tapered a bit in Weeks 4 and 5 when NFC East foes, the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, downed Darnold’s cats. Carolina is currently 3-2.

Minnesota’s record is the inverse – with much more topsy-turvyness accompanying their win-loss standing. The Vikings have lost games they should have won and won a game they should have lost. Strange days.

Carolina hopes to cease its backslide to a .500 record, whereas Minnesota will be tickled to death in reaching .500 heading into a bye week. Arguably, both teams are equally desperate  — one needs a win to prove its start was legitimate, and the other must win to prove its start was bogus.

And most pundits believe the Panthers will prevail in Week 6. Such sentiment is likely derived from homefield advantage – or maybe folks just think the Vikings meltdown against Detroit was unforgivable.

According to NFLPickWatch.com – a conglomeration of experts’ picks – 59% of pundits predict Carolina will triumph.

Just like his team, Darnold kicked off the season tremendously, convincing the general public the New York Jets were truly his malfunction. Since the end of Week 3, though, Darnold turned back into a pumpkin, to a degree, firing up three touchdown passes to five interceptions and a Darnoldesque 65.6 passer rating. Not good. It’s quite evident he needs to be good for the Panthers to thrive, which is the case for virtually all football teams and quarterbacks. Over the last two weeks, he’s played like Jets Darnold.

For the Vikings, head coach Mike Zimmer just needs to inspire his team into a complete performance. The offense was competent in Week 1 and 2 – but the defense was miserable. After that, the defense caught on while the offense has played poorly. Some week soon, this Zimmer version of Vikings must “put it all together.” Otherwise, the Vikings will finish 8-9 or so, and full-scale structural change for Minnesota will be underway.

A road game against a 3-2 team is the perfect time to merge all sects of the team – especially after a neat game-winning 54-yard field goal last week. If the team wants to rally, at Carolina is the time to do it.

Notable personalities picking the Vikings to win this week? Mike Florio, Dan Graziano, Ron Jaworski, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jason La Canfora, and Pete Prisco.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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