This is a little later in the week than I generally like to get to this, but it’s time to take a look back at the history between the Minnesota Vikings and their opponents for this week, the Carolina Panthers. There isn’t a lot of history between these two teams, as they’ve only met 15 times since the Panthers came into existence, but it’s definitely still worth looking back on.
As always, the numbers and boxscores for this post are brought to you by the good folks at Pro Football Reference.
- Regular season games between the Vikings and Panthers: 15
- All-time record: Vikings, 9-6
- Vikings road record against the Panthers: 2-3
- Total Vikings’ points scored, head-to-head: 288 (19.2 points/game)
- Total Panthers’ points scored, head-to-head: 312 (20.8 points/game)
- Longest Vikings’ winning streak vs the Panthers: 3 (6 October 1996 - 19 November 2000, first three games between the two teams)
- Longest Panthers’ winning streak vs the Vikings: 3 (9 September 2001 - 30 October 2005)
- Most recent Vikings’ road win in series: 25 September 2016 (final score 22-10)
- Most recent Panthers’ home win in series: 10 December 2017 (final score 31-24)
- Biggest Vikings’ road win in series: 12 points, 25 September 2016 (final score 22-10)
- Biggest Panthers’ home win in series: 25 points, 30 October 2005 (final score 38-13)
- Current streak: Vikings, 1 win
Only one-third of the matchups between these two teams have taken place in Carolina, which seems a bit out of balance, but that’s just the way the schedule has worked out over the years, I suppose.
These two teams met last season at U.S. Bank Stadium and gave us a pretty exciting football game. The Vikings trailed through much of the game but got to within three points of the Panthers with just over five minutes remaining on Justin Jefferson’s second touchdown catch of the afternoon. That made the score 24-21, and after the Vikings made the Panthers’ offense stall out, the Carolina punt was mishandled by Chad Beebe and recovered by the Panthers deep in Minnesota territory. The Vikings held the Panthers to a field goal to make it 27-21 with just under two minutes left. Beebe then got a chance to redeem himself, reeling in a 10-yard strike from Kirk Cousins for a touchdown that, ultimately, put the Vikings ahead by a point. The Panthers got into position to try a long field goal, but Joey Slye’s 54-yard attempt drifted off to the left and the Vikings held on for a 28-27 victory.
The last time the Vikings traveled to Carolina, they were riding an eight-game winning streak and still in a dogfight for the top seed in the NFC playoffs. The Vikings trailed by 11 points, 24-13, with just over five minutes remaining, but Case Keenum hit Adam Thielen for a 52-yard touchdown, with the two-point conversion pulling the Vikings to within a field goal. Kai Forbath then tied things up with a 27-yard field goal to tie things up, and all the momentum was heading Minnesota’s way. . .until Cam Newton busted through with a 62-yard run to put the Panthers deep into Minnesota territory, setting up Jonathan Stewart’s 1-yard touchdown run to give Carolina the lead back. The ensuing drive for the Vikings started with Keenum being sacked and ended with three straight incompletions, giving the Panthers a 31-24 win and snapping the Vikings’ winning streak.
The last time Minnesota won in Carolina was right in the middle of their five-game winning streak to start the 2016 season. The Panthers put ten points on the board in the first ten minutes, courtesy of a Graham Gano field goal and a 3-yard touchdown run by Newton to make it 10-0. That was all the points they would get, though, as the Vikings’ defense stiffened up. Minnesota got their scoring started when Danielle Hunter took Newton down in the end zone for a safety, and the Vikings followed that up with a 54-yard punt return from Marcus Sherels to go into halftime trailing 10-8. Minnesota then took the lead midway through the third quarter on a touchdown pass from Sam Bradford to Kyle Rudolph, with the two-point conversion making it 16-10. Minnesota got a couple of fourth-quarter field goals from Blair Walsh (who missed an extra point after the Sherels touchdown), and that was all they needed to preserve a 22-10 win.
And, since I used the picture of it for this story, it would be bad form not to mention what might be the most infamous game in Carolina between these two teams back in 2005. The Vikings, despite squeaking out a victory over Green Bay the week before, were still reeling from the “Love Boat” incident during their bye week, and Carolina receiver Steve Smith made sure to let them know about it. The Vikings went into halftime trailing 24-0 on a pair of touchdown runs by Stephen Davis and a touchdown from Jake Delhomme to Smith, who celebrated by “rowing the boat” in the end zone. Smith wound up with 11 catches for 201 yards on the afternoon as the Vikings had no answer for him. To add insult to injury, star quarterback Daunte Culpepper was injured on a scramble play, which was the last time we would see him in a Vikings’ uniform. The Vikings did manage to score a couple of times, but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Panthers blasted the Vikings by a score of 38-13.
That’s a brief look back at the history between the Vikings and the Panthers heading into tomorrow afternoon’s game, ladies and gentlemen. Hopefully the Vikings can even their all-time record in Carolina at 3-3 and go into their bye week on a high note.