The Minnesota Vikings are coming off their first win of the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4. Quarterback Matt Cassel stepped in for an injured Christian Ponder and helped lead the team to victory in a must-win game.
Even with the positives that were present in this contest, the Vikings nearly collapsed in the last seconds of the fourth quarter, causing many fans to expect the worst after back-to-back breakdowns against the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns.
Instead, Everson Griffen and Chad Greenway combined to force a strip-sack against the statuesque Ben Roethlisberger, essentially sealing the game in a 34-27 win.
As the Vikings prepare for the Carolina Panthers—and the hoopla surrounding the recent signing of Josh Freeman subsides—there are several specific areas that Minnesota must improve in order to realistically remain in the playoff picture.
Click ahead as we examine each for this Sunday's game, all areas that will give the Vikings a better chance to win if effectively corrected.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required), unless otherwise noted.