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Cousins throws TD pass in OT; Vikings beat Panthers 34-28

STEVE REED AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — So much for the Minnesota Vikings’ second-half scoring woes.

Kirk Cousins threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns against the league’s top-ranked pass defense, including a 27-yard touch- down pass to K.J. Osborn on the first possession of overtime to lift the Minnesota Vikings to a wild 34-28 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Dalvin Cook ran for 140 yards and a score and Adam Thielen had a number of big catches, finishing with 11 receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown.

“I’m spent,” an exhausted Cousins said after the 3- hour, 41-minute game. “It’s an absolute grind and it takes everything you got.”

The Vikings (3-3) had not scored a second-half touchdown in their previous four games, but Cook broke the streak with a 16-yard touchdown run to give the Vikings the lead and Cousins added a 5-yard touchdown pass to Thielen in regulation before the game-winner to Osborn.

The Vikings had 379 yards after halftime and 571 for the game.

Osborn said. “We said, ‘we’ve got to score points in the second half.’ So it felt good.”

“I thought we stuck with (the running game) a little bit better,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said of his team’s second half. “We ran the ball some, we hit a couple play-actions off the boots. That was big, so we got some big plays off of that. They were really clos- ing in hard on the running game, trying to catch us on the back side on some of the zone plays.”

The Vikings appeared to be in control in the fourth quarter, but Greg Joseph missed two field goals, including a potential winner from 47 yards at the end of regulation to keep Carolina’s hopes alive.

The Vikings won the coin toss and Cousins quickly moved his team into scoring range, finding Osborn, who beat safety Sean Chandler and reached the ball across the goal line to score the winner.

It was the first of many Carolina miscues.

Carolina’s first half was marred by dropped passes, mental errors and poor clock management. On their final drive of the second quarter, the Panthers were called for a delay of game after taking a timeout to set up a play. Darnold tried to call a second timeout as the play clock wound down, but NFL rules prohibit back-to- back timeouts. The comedy of errors continued on the next play as the Panthers were flagged for holding, costing them a chance at a go-ahead field goal.

Vikings: Have a bye next

weekend, then host the Cowboys on Oct 31.

Panthers: Visit Giants on Sunday.

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