Panthers’ Bryce Young trending toward starting Sunday vs. Vikings

Bryce Young, who sat out the Carolina Panthers’ Week 3 loss at Seattle, was a full participant at practice Wednesday and is trending toward starting Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

“I think the big thing right now is to see how he responds tomorrow,” coach Frank Reich said. “Because it was good work today. Just have to make sure there’s no major setbacks, no flare-ups. But if he stays on track, then I think things are headed in the right direction.”

Reich said Young took the usual percentage of reps he normally would take in practice.

“First thing I would say is hats off to Bryce for getting himself ready to get out there today,” Reich said. “You could see the determination in his eyes. You could feel his energy and the will to be out there. And he did get through the whole practice so we’ll have the full designation.”

Young injured his ankle in Carolina’s Week 2 loss to the New Orleans Saints, and Reich said last week that the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft would miss one to two weeks. Veteran Andy Dalton started the Panthers’ 37-27 loss to the Seahawks as Young was inactive. Dalton completed 34 of 58 passes for 361 yards and two touchdown passes. He was sacked three times.

In two games, Young is 42-of-71 for 299 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

Young assuming his starting role

While Dalton had a good game against the Seahawks while attempting a career-high 58 passes, the Panthers did not draft Young with the first pick to have him sit on the bench. Reich said last week that when Young was cleared, he would be the starter again. So there’s no quarterback controversy in Charlotte.

Young, who had his right ankle taped Wednesday, made the trip to Seattle and Reich was pleased with how hard he worked at his rehab and stayed dialed in during meetings and practices last week.

A good week to get back

The Panthers were able to get their passing offense cranked up in Seattle against one of the league’s worst defenses. Dalton had five completions of 20 yards or longer after the Panthers had managed just one in Young’s first two games. But it’s not like this week’s opponent will remind anyone of the ’85 Chicago Bears. The Vikings are ranked 25th in the league or lower in total defense, pass defense and points allowed — another reason why the Panthers hoped to get Young back sooner rather than later.

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(Photo: Bob Donnan / USA Today)

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