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Minnesota Vikings 21, Carolina Panthers 13: Winning ugly beats losing ugly

A W is a W is a W.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

You wouldn’t expect a game between two 0-3 teams to be a work of art, and that’s exactly what the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers delivered on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

In a game that featured more touchdowns scored by defenses than by offenses, the Vikings got themselves into the win column for the first time in 2023 by defeating the Panthers by a score of 21-13.

It looked like the Vikings were going to jump on an early lead on their first possession, but then Kirk Cousins made a disastrous throw trying to hit K.J. Osborn that was intercepted by Panthers’ safety Sam Franklin and returned all the way to the end zone for a 99-yard pick-six to give the Panthers an early 7-0 lead instead.

The Panthers added to their lead early in the second quarter on a 26-yard field goal from Eddy Piniero to make it 10-0. Minnesota then answered with a scoring drive, converting a fourth-down from near midfield in the process and getting into the end zone on a 4-yard pass from Cousins to Justin Jefferson for the score. Jefferson had a touchdown taken off the board in the first quarter thanks to a penalty, but made up for it to cut the Carolina lead to 10-7.

The Vikings appeared to be putting together another nice drive at the end of the second quarter, but Cousins then threw his second interception of the day. He was hit by Yetur Gross-Matos on a pass play and was intercepted by Kamu Grugier-Hill, with the return going to midfield. That resulted in a 56-yard Piniero field goal at the end of the half, and the two teams went into the locker room with Carolina leading, 13-7.

Towards the end of the third quarter, the Vikings got a defensive score of their own, as a blitzing Harrison Smith knocked the football away from Bryce Young and it bounced into the hands of D.J. Wonnum. Wonnum then sprinted 51 yards into the end zone for his first NFL touchdown, and the Vikings found themselves in the lead for the first time on the afternoon, 14-13.

The Vikings then added to their lead the next time they got the ball on offense, as Cousins found Jefferson again on a “free play” after getting a Carolina defensive lineman to jump offside on the final play of the third quarter. The completion was a 30-yarder to Jefferson, giving him his second touchdown of the day and putting the Vikings ahead 21-13 at the start of the fourth quarter.

That’s how things ended for the Vikings, as the Panthers couldn’t get the ball into the end zone on their final possession and Minnesota got into the win column for the first time this season.

The Vikings are going to have to get things a whole lot more together than they had them today if they’re hoping to put together a winning streak. . .they’re set to host the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, next Sunday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Minnesota Vikings finally get themselves a victory, as they hold on to defeat the Carolina Panthers by a score of 21-13. Thanks to all of you who got your coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!