Vikings QB Opponent for Week 4 Becomes Clearer

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The Minnesota Vikings take a road trip this weekend, squaring off against the winless Carolina Panthers in a Week 4 battle.

Neither team has won a game, so unless a tie lurks, either the Vikings or Panthers will get off the schneid in four days.

Vikings QB Opponent for Week 4 Becomes Clearer

And while veteran quarterback Andy Dalton — the Vikings know him quite well — was the safe bet earlier this week to start versus Minnesota, the tide has turned, and first-overall pick Bryce Young appears on track to start his third career game.

QB Opponent for Week 4
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NFL Network‘s Tom Pelissero tweeted on the X app Wednesday, “Panthers QB Bryce Young (ankle) was a full participant in practice, putting him on track to start Sunday vs. Minnesota.”

Young had battled an ankle injury last week, causing him to miss a Week 4 bout with the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle took down Carolina 37-27, situating the Panthers in the NFC South’s basement at least for another week.

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Young totaled 299 passing yards in his first two games, completing 59.2% of all passes and diming 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions along the way. ESPN assigned a 34.9 QBR to the young passer, a low score, but not half-bad for a player in his first two games.

Young ranks 25th out of 34 among all qualifying NFL quarterbacks via EPA+CPOE heading into Week 4, notably outpacing men like Daniel Jones, Trevor Lawrence, Ryan Tannehill, Joe Burrow, and Justin Fields out of the gate in 2023.

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Had Dalton received the QB1 nod, Minnesota has ample experience with his skillset. The Vikings have battled Dalton five times as a starter, winning three times and notably dropping a 2020 contest in Minneapolis when Dalton quarterbacked the Dallas Cowboys. Many Vikings fans assume Dalton is a Viking killer, but Minnesota has actually toppled Dalton-led teams in the last two meetings — once over the New Orleans Saints (2022) and in 2021 over the Chicago Bears.

All told, Dalton has delivered 1,240 passing yards versus the Vikings in five games, with 9 touchdown passes and 5 interceptions, including 2 pick-sixes. He’s decent against Minnesota, but not like an Aaron Rodgers.

Vikings to Showcase
Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Flores was hired in February 2023 to take over for Ed Donatel after Minnesota finished 30th in points allowed.

No matter the quarterback, Minnesota’s defense hopes to erase Week 3 sins, allowing Los Angeles Chargers signal-caller Justin Herbert to gut the purple secondary for 405 passing yards. Los Angeles didn’t even bother running the rock and instead tore apart Brian Flores’ new secondary through the friendly skies.

The news of Young’s progression to start Sunday moved the point spread in the Vikings favor by a half-point. Minnesota is expected to win by four.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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