On Sunday, the Vikings’ defense against the Carolina Panthers dominated, for a regulation time of over 58 minutes.
After watching a film of how the Philadelphia defensive front interrupted Carolina quarterback Sam Darnold a week earlier in the Eagles’ 21–18 victory, the Vikings sacked Darnold four times, pressed four times and forced a pass interception. did.
But soon Carolina grabbed 4 of her own, leaving in 2:08 regulation and leading Minnesota 28-20, Carolina racking up 96 of her 306 total yards and a speed-grabber. Touchdown and made a two-point conversion that forced overtime. The Vikings missed a late field-goal attempt.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said, “Defensively, I thought we went after them all day until that last drive where they went down and tied it up.” “We have to work there.”
The 96-yard drive began when the Vikings received a fourth-down conversion while the Panthers were down on their 4-yard line for their last play.
“We gave a look like we were blitzing,” said Vikings linebacker Eric Kendrick. “Then we left. The guy ran through a path, I thought he was going to stop on sticks. It was the fourth and tenth, so I had to play it true. I was face-to-face on him. It was a good ball, Right in the middle and away from safety. As soon as he caught me I tried to punch him. Sometimes it happens.”
The resulting 41-yard pass from Darnold to Ian Thomas breathed life into the Panthers, who eventually finished with a two-point conversion with a touchdown and 42 seconds of regulation with the score 28–28.
“Well, we had them in fourth and -10 on 4, and they spread and hit one in the middle,” Zimmer said. “We weren’t very good at that one particular game. I hope my people are a little smarter in that situation. ”
Kendrick said the defense was determined to stop the Panthers regardless of the situation.
“Obviously we were in that moment, but at the same time it’s like, ‘Let’s stop them. Let’s worry about this next play, and worry about the next play,'” Kendricks said. That everyone was on the same page.”
Carolina capped the drive with a 7-yard TD pass from Darnold to Robbie Anderson, followed by a two-point game from Darnold’s shovel to Tommy Tremble.
Earlier, the Panthers’ only touchdown came on an 18-yard drive after a Minnesota foul and blocked punt return.
Yet, due to the late drive, the Vikings were left scratching their heads as to how such a major defensive effort ended on a sour note.
“I’m definitely ready to put together a whole game,” Kendrick said. “But that’s part of the game, you know? You have to love the struggle a little. Go back, watch this movie, see what we did well and see what we did bad. And go right back to that. You have to be more confused. You can’t go too high or too low.”