CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mike Zimmer has been generally hard on kickers during his eight seasons as Vikings coach. But he won’t be on Greg Joseph.
A week after his winning 54-yard field goal on the final play against Detroit, Joseph missed a 47-yard attempt wide right with one second left that could have beaten Carolina in regulation Sunday. However, the Vikings did survive by winning 34-28 in overtime on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to K.J. Osborn.
“I’m not very patient,” Zimmer admitted after the game. “But that was a tough wind (Sunday), honestly.”
Joseph made field goals of 25, 25 and 38 yards on Sunday. He also missed a 50-yard attempt wide right with seven minutes left in regulation, when the Vikings led 28-17. The Panthers came back to tie the score 28-28.
“Kicking into that wind, and I knew those two were right on the edge, that he missed, I think,” Zimmer said. “But he’s done a good job. I don’t fault him for those.”
It has been a rollercoaster of a season for Joseph, who was not made available for comment after Sunday’s game. He missed a 37-yard field goal on the final play in a 34-33 loss at Arizona on Sept. 19 before redeeming himself Oct. 10 against the Lions with the decisive field goal in the 19-17 win.
After not scoring an offensive touchdown in the second half since Week 1, the Vikings scored two in a span of 96 seconds in the third quarter and added the winner in overtime. Still, quarterback Kirk Cousins wasn’t fully satisfied.
“We got it rolling at times but there were still series where you’re underperforming,” he said. “So, it goes both ways. I feel the defense’s turnovers helped us, gave us short fields.”
In the third quarter, the Vikings drove 79 yards for a 16-yard Dalvin Cook touchdown run and an 18-17 lead. They scored again shortly after that when linebacker Eric Kendricks recovered a Carolina fumble, and the Vikings went 39 yards for a five-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Adam Thielen.
Rookie left tackle Christian Darrisaw started his first NFL game, and was in for every snap.
It was expected that Darrisaw would replace Rashod Hill after Hill started the first five games. He looked good rotating with Hill against the Lions last week.
“The offensive line has done an awesome job,” said Cousins, who was not sacked Sunday. “Christian had to have played at a high level. I’m proud of the way he played in his first start.”
Ready for bye
Cook talked last week about the importance of the Vikings going into their bye week at 3-3 rather than 2-4. And they delivered on that.
“We got that win and can go into the bye week with the momentum,” he said.
The Vikings don’t play again until Oct. 31 against Dallas at U.S. Bank Stadium. That will start a rugged five-game stretch that also includes meetings with Baltimore, the Chargers, Green Bay and San Francisco.
“They’ve got to play us, too,” Cook said. “That’s the thing when you look at it. Everybody is going to say, ‘What about the other teams?’ Well, what about the Vikings? … We’re a good team, too.”
Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson suffered an apparent leg injury late in regulation and had to be helped off the field. The severity of the injury was uncertain.
Peterson was replaced by Cameron Dantzler, who returned after missing one game while on the COVID-19 reserve list. Dantzler had played some previous snaps rotating in for Bashaud Breeland.
On the game’s first play, Breeland had an interception that he returned eight yards to the Carolina 22. It led to a field goal by Joseph.
Vikings tight end Chris Herndon caught a two-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter from Cousins. It remains the only reception he has this season in Minnesota’s first six games. … The Vikings had four fumbles, although the only one they lost was by receiver Justin Jefferson in the first quarter. “We’ve got to secure the ball…. We’re going to work on it,” Zimmer said. … Inactive for the Vikings were nose tackle Michael Pierce (elbow), tight end Ben Ellefson (knee), rookie wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette, quarterback Kellen Mond, defensive end Patrick Jones II and rookie linebacker Chazz Surratt, who is from the Charlotte area. … The Vikings had four sacks, including one by Armon Watts, who replaced Pierce, and the second of James Lynch’s career.