CHARLOTTE, NC-Once again, the Vikings blew a double-digit lead late in regulation, but came back to win. But this time the script was different.
Kirk Cousins threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to KJ Osborn with 5:48 left in overtime to give the Vikings a 34-28 victory over Carolina on Sunday at the Bank of America Stadium. It came after Minnesota lost a 28-17 lead with less than five minutes left in regulation, and after Minnesota’s Greg Joseph missed a 47-yard field goal wide to the right with one second left in regulation.
On Oct. 10, Joseph had kicked a 54-yard goal on the final regulatory game to give Minnesota a 19-17 victory over Detroit. It came after the Vikings had blown a 16-6 lead with less than three minutes left.
The Panthers, who were 28-18 behind with less than five minutes left in regulation, had forced overtime dramatically. They took over their own 4 with 2:09 left and scored on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Sam Darnold to Robby Anderson and a Darnold two-point conversion card to Tommy Tremble with 42 seconds left. They converted two fourth-down passes on the drive, a 41-yarder to Ian Thomas for the Panthers 45 on the fourth-and-10 and a 25-yarder to DJ Moore to Minnesota on the 7th on the fourth-and-6.
The Panthers trailed 28-17 before Zane Gonzalez cut it to 28-20 on a 23-yard field goal with 4:41 left.
Before Carolina’s dramatic comeback, the Vikings had finally made their offensive run in the second half.
The Vikings went into Sunday’s game after not scoring an offensive touchdown in the second half since Week 1 in Cincinnati. But they got two in a span of 1:26 in the third quarter to take the lead.
Minnesota looked to be in trouble after falling 17-12 behind with 6:49 left in the third quarter when Caroline’s Frankie Luvu blocked a punt and Kenny Robinson drove it from four yards out to a touchdown.
But the Vikings just came back. They scored on a 16-yard touchdown by Dalvin Cook to take the lead for good at 18-17 with four minutes left of the quarter. Then, after the Panthers lost fumbling on their 39, the Cousins threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen for a 25-17 lead with 2:24 left in the quarter.
It marked the Vikings’ second win in a row and sends them into their farewell week with 3-3. The schedule then gets tough, with games against Dallas, Baltimore, the Los Angeles Chargers, Green Bay and San Francisco.
Cook returned from an ankle injury after missing two of the last three games, including the previous game against Detroit. He looked good and carried 29 times in 140 yards.
The Vikings made a change at left tackle and replaced rookie Christian Darrisaw in place of Rashod Hill. The move had been expected after Darrisaw looked good while rotating with Hill against Detroit, and the rookie played every offensive snap.
Prior to the two third-quarter drives, Minnesota’s offense had been bumpy. In the first half, the Vikings settled for 25-yard field goals by Joseph twice after ending up inside 10. But they got a 1-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to tight end Chris Herndon, his first catch with Minnesota.
The Vikings led 12-10 at the break as they mostly kept Carolina’s offense in check. The Panthers (3-3) got a two-yard touchdown by Chuba Hubbard to a 7-3 lead in the first quarter, but it was lined up by a lost Justin Jefferson fumble at Minnesota 18.
Cousins completed 33 of 48 passes for 373 yards with three touchdowns. His favorite goal was Thielen, who caught 11 passes for 126 yards.
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