Panthers in playoff hunt; Quigley sticks with Vikes

The Carolina Panthers find themselves back in the thick of the NFL playoff picture following Sunday’s 31-24 victory over the visiting Minnesota Vikings.

“It’s one of those things when you look at the season going into the year and you hope that in December you’re playing games that really matter,” Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly said “and this game mattered for a lot of reasons.”

One week after losing their key showdown at New Orleans, the Panthers (9-4) are again tied for first place in the NFC South, albeit behind the Saints via the head-to-head tiebreaker. If the Panthers can finish strong (they have back-to-back home games against Green Bay and Tampa Bay before finishing at Atlanta on New Year’s Eve) their season could stretch into 2018.

* The Vikings’ loss might have spoiled punter and North Myrtle Beach High product Ryan Quigley’s homecoming, but it can’t damper the successful season he is having with the NFL’s most surprising team this season.

In his fifth NFL season, Quigley signed on with Minnesota just in time for an eight-game winning streak, and he has played a big hand (or foot) in the Vikings’ amazing midseason run. He is averaging 42 yards per punt, pinning 21 on or inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. He also serves as placeholder for field goals and PATs.

The Vikings are in control of the NFC Central standings and could meet Carolina again in the playoffs.

Photo courtesy of Minnesota Vikings

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