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Lunchbreak: National Pundits Credit Beebe & Vikings Resiliency

The Vikings wild 28-27 win over the Panthers featured all sorts of twists and turns, especially during the fourth quarter.

At one point in the game — right after Chad Beebe's muffed punt — Carolina had a 96.8 percent chance to win the game, according to ESPN's win probability chart.

But Beebe and the Vikings stuck with it, as the former undrafted free agent bounced back to haul in the eventual game-winning touchdown catch with just 46 seconds left.

Kevin Patra of NFL.com credited Beebe and the Vikings for their resiliency on Sunday as Minnesota improved to 5-6 on the season.

View photo of Vikings WR Chad Beebe's first career touchdown against the Panthers in Week 12.

Patra wrote:

Sunday, Minnesota spells redemption 'B-E-E-B-E'. Vikings receiver Chad Beebe botched a punt return with 2:10 left, allowing Carolina to stretch it's three-point lead to six with 1:51 left. The fun was just beginning. Kirk Cousins immediately drove the Vikings down the field to the Carolina 10-yard-line. Beebe then caught a twisting TD to help give the Vikings the go-ahead score.

The wild come-from-behind victory keeps the five-win Vikings (5-6) in the hunt for a potential playoff berth down the stretch. With Justin Jefferson looking every bit of a No. 1 WR sans Adam Thielen, Minnesota proved it can overcome its own mistakes and Dalvin Cook (18 [carries for] 61 [yards]) being slowed. When all looked dead, the Vikings rose from the dead to keep their season alive.

Minnesota's win wasn't pretty by any means, as Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said his team was "very fortunate" to walk out of U.S. Bank Stadium with a win.

John Breech of CBS Sports also handed out some praise to Jefferson for his play in Thielen's absence, as the rookie wide receiver had

seven catches for 70 yards and a pair of scores.

Breech, who gave the Vikings a 'B-' grade on Sunday, wrote:

Don't give that Offensive Rookie of the Year award to Justin Herbert just yet, because there's another Justin who might be more deserving by the end of the season. The Vikings were able to overcome an 11-point deficit in the second half thanks in large part to Justin Jefferson, who caught seven passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns.

The second score came late in the fourth quarter and gave Minnesota a chance to win. Although the offense tried to give this game away by handing the Panthers two touchdowns, Minnesota's special teams and defense helped the Vikings overcome those mistakes. The Vikings blocked a field goal and the Minnesota defense only allowed one touchdown.

Kirk Cousins also played a big role in the rally, as he threw for 307 yards with three scores and no interceptions.

He had a passer rating of 115.7, and was nominated for the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week along with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Fans can vote here for Cousins to win the weekly award.

The Vikings currently sit in eighth place in the NFC Wild Card race, one game behind the 6-5 Cardinals.

Minnesota hosts 1-10 Jacksonville in Week 13, while Arizona hosts the 7-4 Los Angeles Rams.

Vikings thrive in red zone vs. Panthers

Looking for a key area why the Vikings were able to complete Sunday's rally?

Minnesota thrived in the red zone against Carolina on both sides of the ball, as Mark Craig of the Star Tribune highlighted that area in his recap of the Vikings victory.

Craig noted that Minnesota offense scored three touchdowns on four trips inside the 20-yard line and added a field goal on the fourth trip.

And the Vikings defense limited the Panthers to three points on three trips inside the red zone. Minnesota stopped one possession with an interception and ended another with a blocked field goal.

Craig wrote:

How would the Vikings do inside the 20 without Adam Thielen? Quite well. In fact, they didn't even need the one-handed red zone bandit. Offensively, the Vikings had 45 yards, three touchdowns and 25 points on 10 snaps over four red zone trips. Defensively, the Vikings held Carolina to 17 yards and three points in 11 snaps over three red zone trips. The Vikings ran the ball three times for 11 yards, including a 10-yard run by fullback C.J. Ham.

Cousins targeted three different players, completing four of seven passes for 34 yards and three touchdowns. Jefferson caught two of the four passes intended for him for 22 yards and two touchdowns. Somewhere, Thielen had to be proud, even if Jefferson did use two hands each time. Defensively, the Vikings red zone defense held old friend Teddy Bridgewater to 0-for-2 passing with one interception by Eric Kendricks.

Minnesota's units are among the league's best inside the 20-yard line as of Monday morning.

Minnesota's offense is tied with Seattle for the best touchdown percentage in the red zone at 77.78 percent, while the Vikings defense is third in the NFL by allowing touchdowns on just 51.28 percent of opponents' trips inside the 20.

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