Credit Minnesota for the win, but let’s hold off on the parade. The 34-28 overtime triumph evened the Vikings’ record at 3-3, but that doesn’t take the heat off Mike Zimmer, especially when you look ahead to the four-game slate that awaits the team after its Week 7 bye: vs. Cowboys, at Ravens, at Chargers, vs. Packers. Not hard to imagine the Vikes being back below .500 on Thanksgiving.
OK, it was a nice win. A needed win. After kicking off the 2021 campaign with tight road losses at Cincinnati and Arizona, Minnesota notched its first win away from U.S. Bank Stadium of this season. And although the Panthers rallied late in the fourth quarter to force overtime, the Vikings dominated most aspects of this game, easily outgaining Carolina in total yards (571-306), winning the turnover battle (3-1) and controlling time of possession (37:38-26:34). Kirk Cousins posted another sparkling passing line (373 yards, three touchdowns, 112.6 rating), evenly distributing the football to Adam Thielen (11 catches for 126 yards and a touchdown), Justin Jefferson (8/80/0) and emerging WR3 K.J. Osborn (6/78/1). After missing Minnesota’s narrow win over Detroit with an ankle injury, Dalvin Cook returned to action in style, running for 140 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries.
That said, it wasn’t all sunshine and lollypops for the men in the purple helmets. Cousins was off target on a few would-be scoring throws, Greg Joseph missed a pair of fourth-quarter field goals and the Vikings gave up a return touchdown off a blocked punt. Minnesota allowed Carolina to hang around, even though the Panthers’ backfield was missing Christian McCaffrey and their receiving corps forgot how to catch the football.
At the end of the day, I don’t think the first-place Packers are shaking in their boots.