Justin Jefferson leads Vikings over Panthers to get first win of 2023

The Minnesota Vikings are now 1-3 after defeating the Carolina Panthers on Sunday
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

It took longer than expected, but by defeating the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings earned their very first win of the 2023 season.

It certainly wasn't pretty at first, as the Vikings' afternoon started with Kirk Cousins throwing a pick-six on the team's opening drive of the game. But Minnesota found a way to get it together in the second half, and they outscored the Panthers 14-0 in the last two quarters to win the contest by a final score of 21-13.

Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson didn't finish with at least 100 receiving yards for the first time this season, but he made up for it by hauling in a pair of touchdowns.

Cousins wound up only throwing for 139 yards, the lowest he's finished with during a Minnesota win since Week 15 of the 2021 season when he only threw for 87 yards in a Vikings victory over the Chicago Bears.

We got to see running back Cam Akers in action for Minnesota for the first time this week. Akers didn't get a ton of opportunities, but he still managed to rush for 40 yards on five carries in addition to catching two passes for 11 yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Vikings also had the luxury of utilizing pass rusher Marcus Davenport for more than a single drive on Sunday. Davenport, who has been dealing with an ankle injury since Week 1, generated a bunch of pressure and finished his day with one sack and one tackle for a loss.


Veteran safety Harrison Smith also shined for Minnesota's defense on Sunday as he ended the contest with a team-leading 14 tackles, three sacks, two tackles for a loss, and one forced fumble. Smith played a big role in the Vikings leaving the field with a victory over the Panthers.

So now Minnesota finally has a win this season. What do the Vikings get as a reward? Well, now they get to prepare for a Week 5 home matchup against Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.