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Minnesota Vikings 28, Carolina Panthers 27: Vikings overcome second half miscues to win thriller

My heart can’t handle it

Carolina Panthers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings started the second half of their game against the Carolina Panthers by giving up defensive touchdowns on back-to-back plays and seeing a three-point lead evaporate into an 11-point deficit.

The ending of the second half was much better than the beginning.

Thanks to an incredible comeback drive from Kirk Cousins and company, the Vikings overcame three second-half turnovers and got an improbable 28-27 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Week 12 NFL action.

The Vikings got on the board first in this one, as they pushed their first drive for nearly eight minutes, concluding the possession with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to rookie Justin Jefferson. With Dan Bailey’s extra point, the Vikings had a 7-0 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the opening quarter.

It looked like Carolina would get some points at the start of the second quarter, but facing a 3rd-and-11 from the Minnesota 12-yard line, Teddy Bridgewater threw a pass over the middle that was intercepted by Eric Kendricks to end the drive and keep Carolina scoreless.

Carolina got into the end zone just after the two-minute warning, as Bridgewater found Robby Anderson on a short pass that the receiver turned into a 41-yard score as he ran through the Minnesota defense. Joey Slye connected on the extra point, and just like that things were tied at 7-7.

The Vikings got Dan Bailey into position to attempt a 53-yard field goal at the end of the first half. He split the uprights, giving the home team a 10-7 lead going into the locker room.

Carolina took the lead at the start of the second half courtesy of their defense. Kirk Cousins dropped back to pass on third down and was strip-sacked by Zach Kerr. Rookie safety Jeremy Chinn scooped up the loose ball and ran it back 17 yards for a Carolina touchdown. With Slye’s extra point, the Panthers took a 14-10 lead less than a minute into the second half.

The Panthers got another defensive touchdown on the very next Vikings play from scrimmage. This time, it was Dalvin Cook that fumbled as a part of a scrum, and Chinn once again scooped it up and took it in for a score. That made it 21-10 in favor of Carolina after they scored 14 points without running an offensive play to start the second half.

The Vikings got a break on a big special teams play from rookie defensive end D.J. Wonnum, who broke through the Carolina line to block a field goal attempt from Slye to keep the Carolina lead at 11 with about five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Minnesota got back on the board early in the fourth quarter thanks to a 25-yard field goal by Bailey to cut the Carolina lead to 21-13. Carolina then got it back to 24-13 on a 40-yarder by Slye that was just inside the right upright with about eleven and a half minutes left in the game.

The Vikings cut into the Carolina lead again on their next possession, as Cousins and Jefferson connected for their second touchdown of the afternoon. This one was a 10-yarder to make it 24-19. Minnesota went for the two-point conversion and got it on a pass from Cousins to Olabisi Johnson to make it 24-21 with five and a half minutes remaining.

The Vikings’ defense forced a Carolina punt just before the two-minute warning with a chance to get the ball back and drive for a tie or the lead, but Chad Beebe muffed the punt return and Carolina recovered deep in Minnesota territory.

Carolina settled for another Slye field goal after the turnover, a 21-yarder to make the lead 27-21 with 1:51 left on the clock and the Vikings with no timeouts. Then, Kirk Cousins did what he constantly takes heat for not being able to do.

He marched the Vikings 75 yards in seven plays in a minute and five seconds with no timeouts. The drive concluded with a 10-yard touchdown pass to. . .Chad Beebe, his first in the National Football League. Dan Bailey had his first extra point attempt blocked, but the Panthers were offsides on the play, and Bailey hit his second attempt to give the Vikings the lead back at 28-27 with 46 seconds left.

Bridgewater got the Panthers into position for Slye to attempt a 54-yard field goal attempt, and he pushed it wide to the left to preserve the Vikings victory!

The Vikings won this one despite three second half turnovers and coming back from down 11 points in the fourth quarter. This one goes pretty much entirely to Kirk Cousins, who finished this one having completed 34-of-45 passes for 307 yards and three touchdown passes. The leading receiver on the day, at least in terms of yardage, was Olabisi Johnson, who had 74 yards on seven catches and caught a two-point conversion. Justin Jefferson, not to be outdone, had 70 yards on seven receptions and two of Cousins’ three receiving touchdowns on the afternoon.

That helped the Vikings to overcome a pretty quiet day from Dalvin Cook, who managed just 61 yards on 18 carries on the afternoon. He added in 21 yards on four receptions as well.

The Vikings raise their record to 5-6 and, thanks to some other events in the NFL on Sunday, are now within one game of a playoff spot in the NFC. They conclude their three-game homestand against the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Panthers fall to 4-8 on the season and will take their bye next week.

The Minnesota Vikings, somehow, some way, hold on to win a thriller over the Carolina Panthers at U.S. Bank Stadium, emerging victorious by a final score of 28-27. Thank you to everyone that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!