Finding themselves trailing the Carolina Panthers 10-8 coming out of the locker room, the Minnesota Vikings got the opportunity to receive the second half kickoff. Cordarrelle Patterson took the ball out to the Minnesota 21-yard line, which is where Sam Bradford and company got to start their drive. Bradford got the drive started with a pass to Stefon Diggs for 10 yards, making his longest connection of the game to that point. The Vikings then found themselves facing a third down, and Bradford converted by finding Kyle Rudolph for a 5-yard gain to keep the drive going. Jerick McKinnon then had a nice carry into Carolina territory, and Matt Asiata followed up with an 8-yard gain.
Bradford then found Diggs again for 16 more yards to the Carolina 25, and the Vikings were in business. A couple of plays later, the Vikings were down at the Carolina 15, and Bradford capped the drive the way Mike Zimmer wants to see, with a 15-yard to Kyle Rudolph for a Minnesota touchdown! Bradford made an outstanding throw to the front left corner of the end zone, and Rudolph went up for it and got both feet down for the score. The Vikings went for two, and Jerick McKinnon found his way into the end zone to give the Vikings a 16-10 lead with just under ten minutes left in the third quarter.
Carolina started their next drive at their own 20-yard line after a short kickoff return by Ted Ginn, and the Panthers started to move the ball down the field. It looked like the Vikings had a stop, but a questionable illegal contact call from Andrew Sendejo kept the Carolina drive alive. A short pass from Cam Newton to Fozzy Whitaker put the Panthers into Minnesota territory, but they stalled out at the Minnesota 44-yard line. Carolina punted it away, and Marcus Sherels called for a fair catch at the 10-yard line to give the Vikings the ball back.
Unfortunately, Minnesota couldn't generate anything on their drive, as they went three-and-out and didn't gain a whole lot of yardage, so Jeff Locke was called upon for the sixth time on the afternoon. Locke did his job again, as he blasted a 50-yard punt with no return to give the Panthers possession on their own 34-yard line. Cordarrelle Patterson made a very nice tackle on Ted Ginn to prevent a return, so credit where credit is due.
After a sack of Cam Newton by Brian Robison. . .the Vikings' fourth of the day. . .the Panthers faced a 3rd-and-11 from their own 33-yard line. Newton dropped back and was looking for Ted Ginn, but the venerable Terence Newman undercut the route and collected his 41st career interception! The Vikings' offense was set up in good field position at the Carolina 43-yard line after the pick.
Minnesota started the drive off with a nicely-designed screen to Rhett Ellison for a gain of 18, and as we move to the fourth quarter of play, the Vikings are looking at a 2nd-and-7 from the Carolina 22-yard line.
There are just fifteen minutes left to play in Charlotte, ladies and gentlemen, and the Minnesota Vikings have a 16-10 lead and are on the doorstep to get more. Can they pull off what would be a pretty sizeable upset to move to 3-0? Watch the conclusion with us!