Minnesota has their division well in hand, but Carolina still has a lot to play for.
J-Stew turned the clock back against Minnesota, running for over 100-yards for only the second time this season. "We probably didn't deserve to win".
Stewart's run was the longest rush allowed of the season for the Vikings, until the fourth quarter when Panthers quarterback Cam Newton set Carolina up for the win with a 62-yard scamper up the middle of the field. The Vikings (10-3) had an eight-game winning streak snapped.
The return of two Pro Bowl starters, center Ryan Kalil and Olsen, seemed to stabilize the offense even though Olsen didn't have a catch and his fourth-quarter miss led to an interception. They needed plays and he made them. But after giving up a 52-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen and a 2-point conversion that cut the lead to 34-31, Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo intercepted a tipped pass and returned the ball to the Carolina 6. He also had another attempted pass ruled a fumble that the Panthers recovered.
The Panthers were efficient with 216 rushing yards on 36 carries thanks to a great day by the offensive line.
The Panthers had led 14-13 at halftime before a scrambling Newton found a wide-Devin Funchess in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown pass and a 21-13 lead. My pick: Minnesota 17, Carolina 13.
Carolina came into the game tied for fifth in the league in sacks. That usually translates into a loss for this team, and it did on Sunday.
Reserve lineman Jeremiah Sirles is slated to start at left guard while Rashod Hill will start again at right tackle in place of Remmers. Yet the unit held their own against a defense that brought pressure often.
Rookie quarterback Kizer threw two touchdowns to give the hosts hope but Williams ran in another score and Davante Adams's touchdown with just over two minutes left to force overtime. The short-handed unit lost left tackle Riley Reiff to an ankle injury, and it suddenly starting to look like last year's line. "They made a few good blocks, and he saw a hole and ran through it", Rhodes added.
The Vikings, conversely, has a stud of their at the same spot in Kyle Rudolph-who's heating up just in time for the holiday season.
Special teams had a big contribution in this game, and wasn't always good. The Panthers should have plenty in store for Keenum on Sunday, and if he can handle it, the Vikings can take their winning streak to nine games before playing two of their final three at home. His drop at the goal line of a well-thrown ball bounced off his chest hurt the team early, and may have come back to bite them. "That's not like us", Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "You've got to have some thick skin to play that position because week in and week out you play against the best of your best. I got to play better to help this team win games".