It wasn’t pretty, but the Minnesota Vikings somehow eeked out a win in Carolina last Sunday. Missed field goals, inconsistency on offense, and a costly turnover almost spelled doom for the Purple and Gold.

But once again, Captain Kirk Cousins brought the Vikings back from the brink. He capped it off with a 27-yard touchdown pass to K.J. Osborn in overtime to beat the Panthers 34-28.

The Minnesota Vikings started out quickly when cornerback Bashaud Breeland picked off a Sam Darnold pass on the first play from scrimmage at the 25 of Carolina. The offense stalled, so they settled for a 25-yard field goal by Greg Joseph to take the early 3-0 lead. The Vikings then stopped the Panthers on downs but next came a crucial error by an unlikely source.

Vikings and Panther Trade Scores

After receiving a pass from Cousins, Justin Jefferson fumbled, and the Panthers’ Haason Reddick returned the ball to the Minnesota 20-yard line. Two plays later, Chuba Hubbard ran in the touchdown and the Panthers led 7-3. Joseph added another 25-yard field goal with 2:57 left in the first quarter cutting the Panthers’ lead to one.

After an early second-quarter punt by Carolina, the Vikings got the ball back deep in their own territory and Cousins went to work. What followed was an 11-play, 86-yard drive, which culminated in a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Chris Herndon. The Vikings went for two, but Dalvin Cook was stopped on a run to the right and the score stood at Vikings 12, Carolina 7.

Minnesota Leads at Halftime

Carolina added a Zane Gonzalez field goal with 4:23 left before half and the Vikings led at halftime 12-10. The defense had played well for Minnesota holding the Panthers to ten points and registering the interception and a sack by backup tackle James Lynch. But the offense had stumbled and looked out of synch for most of the half.

The biggest excitement so far in the game was the sight of a Panther fan decking a Vikings fan in the concourse of Bank of America Stadium. But there would be plenty of second-half fireworks.

Vikings Move Ahead After Blocked Punt

The score remained unchanged until Panthers’ linebacker Frankie Luvu bolted through the middle of the Vikings formation to block a Jordan Berry punt. Ex-XFL safety Kenny Robinson promptly scooped the ball up and carried it 4-yards for the touchdown. The score was now 17-10 Carolina with 6:49 left in the third quarter.

Later in the quarter Cousins engineered a 7-play, 79-yard drive that was capped by a Cook 16-yard run. The two-point conversion play failed when a pass from Cousins to Jefferson fell short. The Vikings led 18-17 with four minutes left in the third quarter.

After the ensuing kickoff, Darnold hit wide receiver DJ. Moore for a 15-yard gain, but Vikings safety Xavier Woods stripped the ball from Moore, and it was recovered by linebacker Eric Kendricks at the Carolina 41-yard line. After a 35-yard reception by Adam Thielen, Cousins went back to the pride of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota and Thielen made a sensational catch in the endzone. After the PAT, the Vikings led 25-17.

The Minnesota Vikings added a 39-yard Joseph field goal to expand their lead to 28-17 with about 10:15 left in the game. The Vikings then missed an opportunity to put the game away. Vikings tackle Armon Watts sacked Darnold and forced a fumble which was recovered by fellow lineman Dalvin Tomlinson at the Carolina 38.

After a three-and-out by the Vikings offense, Joseph missed a 50-yard kick with 7:05 left in the game. Darnold then led a drive that took Carolina to the Minnesota 5-yard line where they were stopped. Gonzalez then kicked a 23-yard field goal with 4:41 left in the game. The score at this point was 28-20 Minnesota.

Carolina on the Comeback

Forced to punt on their next series, punter Berry nailed a kick that was downed at the Carolina 4-yard line. Then after two long receptions, Darnold threw a 7-yard pass to Robby Anderson and the Panthers were down by two.

Darnold coolly dropped back on the two-point conversion and hit tight end, Tommy Tremble, with a shovel pass in the end zone. Tie game with 42 seconds left in regulation. Time for one more heart-stopper before the quarter ended.

Cousins marshaled the Vikings down the field quickly, taking them to the Carolina 29 with six clicks left on the clock. Could Greg Joseph be the hero two weeks in a row? No, unfortunately. Joseph missed the potential game-winner, sending the game into overtime. This led to the Cousins/Osborn theatrics that brought home the victory.

Vikings Look Ahead

The Minnesota Vikings enter their bye week having won three out of their last four games. First-round draft choice, Christian Darrisaw started his first game at left tackle and his play was one of the keys to the victory.

Unfortunately, the Vikings placed Patrick Peterson on the IR list with a hamstring injury. The veteran cornerback will be missed as his play had been stellar. The Vikings have a grueling second-half schedule, but they at least get a breather until they have to face 5-1 Dallas on Halloween night in Minnesota.

Read the Vikings Beat weekly at Belly Up Sports. Follow me on Twitter for more of my articles. In addition, check out other NFL articles by the Belly Up Sports Pigskin Team. 

About Author

Greg Simbeck

Freelance writer who loves telling an informative, creative, and compelling story. I am open to write about anything, but my emphasis is on sports in the Midwest. I look forward to telling you a good story and receiving your comments.

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