MINNEAPOLIS — Playoff teams are known for their ability to overcome hurdles to win games. The Minnesota Vikings passed that test with flying colors against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Nov. 29.
The problem? The Vikings themselves were the hurdle.
Minnesota bareknuckled their way to a 28-27 win despite muffing a punt and allowing defensive touchdowns on back-to-back plays.
After taking a 10-7 lead into the locker room, Minnesota's opening drive of the second half ended when quarterback Kirk Cousins was strip sacked by Zach Kerr. Safety Jeremy Chinn gathered the ball and returned it for a touchdown to give Carolina the lead.
Not satisfied, Chinn pried the ball from Cook's hands on the next play from scrimmage, scooped up the loose ball and scored his second career touchdown.
Cousins led Minnesota back in the fourth quarter with a pair of 75-yard drives, capped with passing touchdowns to Justin Jefferson and Chad Beebe. The latter score came with just 50 seconds remaining in the game to give the Vikings their decisive lead.
Cousins shined despite missing the NFL's leader in touchdown receptions, wideout Adam Thielen (COVID-19). The quarterback finished with 307 yards and three touchdowns while completing more than 75% of his attempts.
Little-used Bisi Johnson led Minnesota in receiving with 74 yards, while the rookie Jefferson added 70 yards and two scores. Cook left the game after his fumble with a leg injury but later returned to finish with 61 yards rushing.