Panthers' Bryce Young feels 'great,' expected to play Sun.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young isn't concerned that his sprained right ankle will limit him in his expected return for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings.

"Not really,'' Young said Thursday in his first comments to reporters since his Week 2 injury. "I feel great.''

Young, who did not play in last week's loss to the Seattle Seahawks, looked so good in Wednesday's practice that coach Frank Reich said the No. 1 overall draft pick was trending toward starting Sunday, barring a setback.

Young again was a full participant in Thursday's practice.

Offensive coordinator Thomas Brown called it the best practice of the year for Young.

"Not just execution,'' Brown said. "He's been really good when it comes to understanding the offense and being a fast processor. But the energy, enthusiasm, stepping into a huddle, calling the plays with conviction, coaching those guys up from a receiver standpoint ... just kind of being maestro when it comes to the offense.''

Young is so laid back and calm in practice that it sometimes appears the energy is not there. He made sure that wasn't the case on Wednesday.

"We talked about increasing our energy and tempo,'' Young said. "I definitely did take that to heart.''

Seeing the energy that Andy Dalton brought to the offense vs. Seattle also gave a different perspective to Young.

"He's done a great job of taking ownership of what we're doing,'' Dalton said. "That's what you have to have at this position. It was good to see him yesterday step in there and have that leadership, have the energy, have the stuff that's going to lead the group.''

Dalton said Young is dealing with a lot as a rookie, including being on an 0-3 team for likely the first time in his football career.

"I was in the same boat,'' Dalton said. "Before I got to the NFL, I'd never lost two games in a row in any sport, in any part of my life. I would assume for Bryce, it's probably been the same way, especially coming from a program like Alabama where if you lose a game it's kind of the end of the world."

Young, 0-2 as the starter, couldn't recall if he ever had a start like this or lost consecutive games as a player at any level. He never did at Alabama, where he was 23-4 as the starter with two losses each in 2021 and '22.

"You have to process it and understand it for what it is,'' Young said. "Of course, it's not the start we wanted, but nothing's going to change that. ... There's no dwelling on it. There's no, 'What about this? What about that?' And the end of the day, it's not going to accomplish anything.''

Sunday's game will feature two of the four 0-3 teams in the NFL. The others are the Broncos and Bears, who also face each other.

"We have to earn the right to win the game," Young said. "... We have to turn the page. We have to learn from what happened. We have to figure out how we can be better and grow.''

For Young, that starts with returning to the starting lineup. But he was quick to say his fast return had nothing to do with those who questioned his durability during the draft process.

"It doesn't drive me at all,'' Young said. "Good or bad, what people are going to say is out of my control. People are going to have opinions. The beauty of sports we can have conversations and people are passionate and care and express that.''