MINNEAPOLIS — Whew.
Wide left was a good thing for the Vikings for once.
A 54-yard field goal attempt by Carolina's Joey Slye pushed left of the uprights, and Minnesota exhaled with a 28-27 victory on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Chad Beebe's 10-yard touchdown reception on a pass from Kirk Cousins and an extra point by Dan Bailey gave the Vikings the winning margin with just 46 seconds left in the game.
Cousins drove the Vikings 75 yards in seven plays and 1:05, going 6-of-7 passing for all 75 yards of the game-winning drive.
Teddy Bridgewater, the 2014 first-round pick of the Vikings who made his first start against his former team, drove Carolina to the Minnesota 36 with 0:06 left on the clock.
Mistakes nearly doomed the Vikings. Beebe had muffed a punt with 2:10 left in the game, giving the ball to the Panthers at the Minnesota 9-yard line.
The Vikings defense, however, held and forced just a field goal by Slye that put Carolina up 27-21 with 1:51 to go.
Minnesota led for less than two minutes of the second half.
The Vikings coughed up the football twice in their first four plays of the third quarter, leading to touchdowns of 17 and 28 yards on fumble returns by rookie Jeremy Chinn.
The mistakes occurred on consecutive snaps, turning a 10-7 halftime lead for Minnesota into a 21-10 deficit with 13:51 remaining in the third quarter.
That put the Vikings playing uphill against the Panthers the rest of the way.
Minnesota rookie D.J. Wonnum blocked a 28-yard field goal attempt by Joey Slye with 5:21 remaining in the period, and the offense followed with a 25-yard field goal by Dan Bailey to make it 21-13 with 14:47 left in the game.
Carolina responded with a 53-yard drive and made it 24-13 on a 40-yard kick by Slye but only consumed 3:16 of time.
Cousins finished 34 of 45 passing for 307 yards with three touchdowns and a passer rating of 115.7.
Four different Vikings totaled seven receptions on a day without Adam Thielen, who was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Nov. 23.
Bisi Johnson led Minnesota with 74 yards, and Justin Jefferson added 70 yards and two scores. Kyle Rudolph gained 32 of his 68 yards on the day during the winning drive, and Beebe finished with 63 yards through the air.
Cousins completed 13 of 18 passes for 84 yards with a touchdown for a passer rating of 100.2 in the first half. He also gained a pair of first downs on scrambles of 9 and 11 yards, getting the first on Minnesota's opening possession that ended with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Justin Jefferson.
Cousins' other scramble in the first half helped set up a 53-yard field goal by Dan Bailey as the first half expired.
Bridgewater was 7-of-15 passing for 96 yards with a touchdown and interception (passer rating of 62.1) in the first half.
Eric Kendricks nabbed the pick off Bridgewater at the Minnesota 7-yard line in the second quarter. It was Kendricks' third interception in four games.
Q1, 5:34 remaining
Vikings 7, Panthers 0
Justin Jefferson catches a 12-yard pass from Kirk Cousins (Dan Bailey kicks PAT) [13 plays, 68 yards, 7:38 time of possession]
Picking up thirds: The Vikings converted three third downs on their opening possession and earned another first down via a penalty on a third-and-4. After that, Dalvin Cook rushed for a gain of 6 on third-and-1. Cousins scrambled for a gain of 9 to convert a third-and-8, breaking a tackle by Efe Obada to earn the needed yardage. The QB then fired accurately on a post route that beat Rasul Douglas for the score on third-and-8.
Q2, 1:52 remaining
Vikings 7, Panthers 7
Robby Anderson catches a 41-yard pass from Teddy Bridgewater (Joey Slye kicks PAT) [11 plays, 81 yards, 5:33 time of possession]
Shorts then long: Carolina extended the possession with a 2-yard run by Mike Davis on a fourth-and-1 from its own 46-yard line and with a 3-yard run by Davis on third-and-1. Bridgewater found Anderson at the Minnesota 39 on a shallow crossing route with defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo trailing to score on a third-and-11.
Q2, 0:00 remaining
Vikings 10, Panthers 7
Dan Bailey kicks a 53-yard field goal [11 plays, 41 yards, 1:52 time of possession]
Getting it there: The Vikings were able to move the ball within Bailey's range thanks to a 9-yard completion to Chad Beebe on a second-and-8, an 11-yard scramble by Cousins and a 12-yard completion to Kyle Rudoph on a second-and-10. The drive, however, stalled at the Carolina 29 with a false start penalty on Beebe, an incompletion to Jefferson in the end zone that involved heavy contact from Troy Pride, Jr., and a delay of game penalty on the Vikings.
Q3, 14:01 remaining
Panthers 14, Vikings 10
Jeremy Chinn returns a fumble 17 yards for a touchdown (Slye kicks PAT)
Momentum swing: Minnesota missed the chance to build momentum from scoring as the first half expired by committing a turnover on its third snap of the second half. Zach Kerr forced the fumble during a sack of Kirk Cousins on third-and-8. Minnesota opened the drive with an incompletion on a deep pass to Tajaé Sharpe and a 2-yard run by Cook.
Q3, 13:51 remaining
Panthers 21, Vikings 10
Chinn returns a fumble 28 yards for a touchdown (Slye kicks PAT)
Franchise first: Chinn became the first player in Carolina Panthers history with two defensive touchdowns in the same game. He forced the fumble by Cook, who left the game with an ankle injury but returned later in the third quarter.
Q4, 14:47 remaining
Panthers 21, Vikings 13
Bailey kicks a 25-yard field goal [12 plays, 72 yards, 5:34 time of possession]
No-go in goal-to-go: The Vikings settled for a disappointing field goal after moving the ball to the Carolina 7. Cook gained 1 on a first-down run that was followed by a pair of incompletions.
Q4, 11:31 remaining
Panthers 24, Vikings 13
Slye kicks a 40-yard field goal [9 plays, 53 yards, 3:16 time of possession]
Q4, 5:31 remaining
Panthers 24, Vikings 21
Jefferson catches a 10-yard pass from Cousins (Bisi Johnson catches 2-point conversion pass from Cousins) [11 plays, 75 yards, 6:00 time of possession]
Q4, 1:51 remaining
Panthers 27, Vikings 21
Slye kicks a 21-yard field goal [4 plays, 6 yards, 0:19 time of possession]
Big stand: The Vikings defense allowed six yards but forced an incompletion on third down.
Q4, 0:46 remaining
Vikings 28, Panthers 27
Beebe catches a 10-yard pass from Cousins (Bailey kicks PAT) [7 plays, 75 yards, 1:05 time of possession]
Memorable first: It was the first career touchdown for Beebe.