Justin Jefferson caught six passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns, and the visiting Minnesota Vikings rallied for a 21-13 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon in Charlotte.
Kirk Cousins completed 12 of 19 passes for 139 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for Minnesota (1-3). Alexander Mattison led the team with 95 rushing yards on 17 carries.
Safety Sam Franklin Jr. had a 99-yard interception return for the Panthers’ lone touchdown. Bryce Young completed 25 of 32 passes for 204 yards for Carolina (0-4).
The Vikings scored 14 unanswered points in the second half to secure their first win.
Minnesota relied on its defense to take its first lead with 3:58 left in the third quarter. Harrison Smith rushed in on a safety blitz, which caused Young to fumble. Linebacker D.J. Wonnum did the rest with a 51-yard scoop and score to put the Vikings ahead 14-13.
The Vikings increased their lead to 21-13 as time expired in the third quarter. Jefferson made a leaping catch down the left side of the field for a 30-yard touchdown, which marked his second score of the game and his third of the season.
Carolina marched into the red zone in the final two minutes as it tried to force overtime. Smith sealed the outcome on another safety blitz when he sacked Young on fourth-and-goal to force a turnover on downs.
The Panthers struck first with a defensive touchdown. Cousins tried to fire a pass to wideout K.J. Osborn near the front of the end zone, and Franklin stepped in front of it for his first career interception and sprinted the length of the field.
Carolina made it 10-0 on a 26-yard field goal by Eddy Pineiro early in the second quarter.
The Vikings got on the scoreboard on the next possession. Cousins rolled to his right and found Jefferson in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown.
Another Panthers interception, this time by linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, helped to set up a field goal at the end of the half. Pineiro was good from 56 yards to make it 13-7.
–Field Level Media