Vikings' game plan? 'Keep on hitting' Panthers QB Cam Newton, just like last year

Joseph Person, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Football

The Panthers led Minnesota 10-0 near the end of the first quarter last season before defensive end Danielle Hunter's safety swung momentum and led to 22 unanswered points by the Vikings.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said falling behind and being forced to throw allowed the Vikings to get more aggressive with their pressures.

Hunter's safety was one of three sacks allowed by former left tackle Michael Oher, who also was called for holding on one of those plays.

The following week Oher went in the concussion protocol for the rest of the season. The Observer reported he is believed to have played the Vikings' game with a concussion, which right guard Trai Turner seemed to confirm this week.

"I don't think he was himself that day, so I think that played a big part," Turner said.

Everson Griffen, the Vikings' other edge rusher, had a monster game last season when he tied his career high with three sacks.


Griffen will be lined up mostly opposite left tackle Matt Kalil, who should have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Kalil spent five seasons with the Vikings before signing a $55.5 million contract to join his brother in Carolina.

"I played against him a lot. But a lot of those practices I wasn't 100 percent. I was injured," said Kalil, who had hip surgery last year. "It'll be a little different from my point of view and the things I can do. I'll definitely get after it and probably be a different guy than they're used to the past few years."

Griffen began this season with a sack in eight consecutive games and is fourth in the league with 12. He said the Vikings have a pretty straightforward plan when it comes to Newton.

"Well, you just hit him. You keep on hitting him," Griffen told reporters in Minnesota. "He's a big guy."


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