Aug 27, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Stephen Weatherly (91) on the sidelines during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings trade DE Stephen Weatherly to Broncos

The Minnesota Vikings traded defensive end Stephen Weatherly to the Denver Broncos on Saturday.

The Broncos will also receive a 2023 seventh-round pick, while Minnesota will receive a 2022 seventh-round selection in exchange.

Weatherly, 27, has nine tackles in six games since returning to the Vikings this season. He has played 82 snaps on defense and 114 on special teams.

A seventh-round pick by Minnesota in 2016, Weatherly spent his first four seasons with the Vikings before making nine starts last season with the Carolina Panthers.

He has 93 tackles, 20 quarterback hits, six sacks and two forced fumbles in 64 career games (16 starts).

Weatherly fills an immediate need for the injury-depleted Broncos (3-4), who placed linebacker Micah Kiser (groin) on injured reserve in a corresponding move Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) motions in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings place CB Patrick Peterson on injured reserve

The Minnesota Vikings placed eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson on injured reserve Monday with a hamstring issue.

Peterson will miss the team’s next three games as a result of the move, but the injury is not expected to be season-ending. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer confirmed the hamstring injury Monday.

Peterson dealt with what was labeled as cramping issues during the fourth quarter of the Vikings’ 34-28 overtime victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. He was replaced by Cameron Dantzler.

“Patrick has played really well and we’ll miss him for sure,” Zimmer said. “But Dantzler has done decent and so has (Bashaud) Breeland.”

Peterson, 31, recorded 13 tackles and two passes defensed in six games this season, his first with Minnesota.

Peterson has 512 tackles, 28 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries in 160 career starts with the Arizona Cardinals and Vikings.

The Vikings also added tackle Blake Brandel from the practice squad.

–Field Level Media

Oct 17, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA;  Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to pass in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins, Vikings down Panthers in overtime

Kirk Cousins threw 27 yards to K.J. Osborn on the first possession of overtime as the visiting Minnesota Vikings defeated the Carolina Panthers 34-28 in a mistake-filled game Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C.

Cousins threw three touchdown passes and Dalvin Cook returned to action by rushing for 140 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. Cousins went 33-for-48 for 373 yards through the air.

Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold was 17-for-41 for 207 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Carolina forced overtime by driving 96 yards, scoring on Darnold’s 7-yard pass to Robby Anderson and converting a two-point conversion pass with 42 seconds left.

The Vikings scored two touchdowns in a two-minute span of the third quarter for a 25-17 lead.

The first of those came on Cook’s 16-yard touchdown run. Four plays after a Carolina fumble, the Vikings converted on Cousins’ third-and-goal pass of 5 yards to Adam Thielen, who made a diving catch on the side of the end zone.

On Minnesota’s next possession, it drove 63 yards for Greg Joseph’s 38-yard field goal with 10:19 remaining. A missed field goal from 50 yards three minutes left the lead at 28-17.

The Panthers ended up with Zane Gonzalez’s 23-yard field goal at the 4:44 mark.

Carolina got the ball back at its own 4-yard line with 2:18 left.

The Panthers did little on offense, but they were up 17-12 after Frankie Luvu blocked a punt and Kenny Robinson returned the ball 4 yards for a third-quarter touchdown.

Carolina had a total of 68 yards on its first four possessions of the second half. Two of those sequences ended in turnovers.

The Vikings had Cook back after he missed time with an ankle injury. Carolina, though, was again without running back Christian McCaffrey, who has missed three straight games and won’t be eligible to return until November since being placed on injured reserve.

The first points for each team came following turnovers.

The Vikings settled for two field goals — both from 25 yards out by Joseph — in the first quarter. This was despite taking over at the Carolina 22-yard line after Bashaud Breeland intercepted Darnold’s pass on the first snap of the game.

The Panthers took better advantage of Justin Jefferson’s fumble and Haason Reddick’s 22-yard return, converting for a touchdown two plays later on Chuba Hubbard’s 2-yard run.

The Vikings reached the end zone on a nine-play drive, with Cousins connecting with Chris Herndon for a 2-yard scoring play.

Gonzalez booted a 47-yard field goal for Carolina later in the second quarter.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA;  Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) comes on to the field before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) out vs. Vikings

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings because of a lingering hamstring injury, the team announced Friday.

McCaffrey was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice and did not practice Thursday or Friday for the Panthers (3-2).

McCaffrey registered limited practices last week as he tries to work his way back from the injury he sustained during Carolina’s 24-9 victory over the Houston Texans on Sept. 23.

An All-Pro, McCaffrey, 25, has 52 carries for 201 yards and a touchdown to go along with 16 receptions for 163 yards in three games this season. He played only three games in 2020 due to a high ankle sprain and a shoulder injury.

Rookie Chuba Hubbard has been starting in his absence and ran for 101 yards last week against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Panthers also said linebackers Shaq Thompson (foot) and Kamal Martin (concussion) won’t play Sunday.

For the Vikings (2-3), tight end Ben Ellefson (knee) and defensive tackle Michael Pierce (elbow) are out.

–Field Level Media

Aug 27, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler (27) breaks up a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Daurice Fountain (82) during the first quarter at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings activate CB Cameron Dantzler from COVID list

The Minnesota Vikings activated cornerback Cameron Dantzler off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday.

He went on the list Oct. 11 and missed the Vikings’ Week 5 win over the Detroit Lions.

It wasn’t clear whether Dantzler would be able to play Sunday when the Vikings (2-3) face the Panthers (3-2) on Sunday in Charlotte, N.C.

Dantzler, 23, was inactive in Week 1 and has played in just three games this season, making six tackles and breaking up two passes.

The Vikings selected Dantzler in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he appeared in 11 games (10 starts) and made 46 tackles and had two interceptions. He added one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs with the ball in the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers linebacker Jeremy Chinn (21) at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Scuffling Panthers draw red-hot Vikings defense

The Minnesota Vikings have come to count on their defense early in the season.

That might be a message to the Carolina Panthers to crank up the offense a few notches when the teams collide Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C.

The feel-good moments for the Panthers have vanished, particularly after squandering a late-game lead in last week’s loss to Philadelphia.

Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold has struggled the past two games and the Vikings (2-3) might be a tough foe against whom to get back on track. He has been sacked eight times and thrown five interceptions in Carolina’s two losses.

“We’ve got to coach it better, play better,” Panthers coach Matt Rhule said, noting shortcomings along the offensive line. “We have to do a better job of protecting Sam.”

Minnesota’s defense has given up just one passing touchdown over the past three games combined.

The Panthers (3-2) began the season with a three-game winning streak, but there were few signs of that level of play for much of the past two games.

“I think this week will really define who we are,” Rhule said.

The Vikings are aiming to reach a .500 mark before an open week on the schedule.

“I think it would be a good milestone for us to get to there,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “If we can just continue to improve, we’ll win our share of games.”

Zimmer said he’s encouraged by the approach from quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has become more vocal.

Cousins knows the Panthers can be tough to throw against. They’re allowing just 161.6 yards per game in the air, tops in the NFL.

“A really good defense,” Cousins said. “They challenged us last year.”

The Vikings won 28-27 against Carolina last November at home.

Minnesota has used more three-wide set-ups on offense this season, something that Cousins said can offer more variety.

“So much of it is situationally based,” Cousins said. “You try to study every situation of how will they defend us or play against us.”

A mixture of pass formations could prove even more invaluable against the Panthers, who’ve dealt with injuries and significant personnel changes in the secondary the past few weeks. It’s unclear if Carolina newcomer CJ Henderson, a cornerback, will be available.

Minnesota, which has dropped both of its road outings, managed just one touchdown in last week’s 19-17 home victory against Detroit. The outcome was determined on Greg Joseph’s last-second 54-yard field goal.

That helped soothe some of the shortcomings for Minnesota.

“It’s all fixable. We just got to clean it up,” Zimmer said. “We need to be focused again.”

Both teams are waiting on the status of standout running backs. Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook has missed two games, including last week, with an ankle injury. Alexander Mattison has been filling in for Cook.

“They’re not going to put me out there if they feel I’m a liability,” Cook said Wednesday.

Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey has been out for two games because of a hamstring injury, but could be ready for action against Minnesota, Rhule said. He has practiced on a limited basis early this week.

Rookie running back Chuba Hubbard gained 101 yards on 24 carries in the Philadelphia game.

“I think he’ll be a tremendous complement whenever Christian is back with us,” Rhule said.

The Vikings are 9-6 all-time against Carolina, but just 2-3 in five previous trips to Charlotte.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes against the Detroit Lions during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Joseph’s 54-yard field goal lifts Vikings over Lions

Greg Joseph kicked a 54-yard field goal as time expired and the Minnesota Vikings escaped after squandering a late 10-point lead, beating the winless Detroit Lions 19-17 in Minneapolis on Sunday.

A pair of pass plays from Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen totaling 40 yards set up the winning kick. Detroit had gone ahead with 37 seconds remaining on D’Andre Swift’s scoring run and a two-point conversion pass.

Minnesota (2-3) defeated Detroit (0-5) for the eighth consecutive time.

Alexander Mattison rushed for 113 yards and also caught a touchdown pass from Cousins. Mattison started in place of Dalvin Cook, who was inactive due to an ankle injury. Cousins completed 25 of 34 passes for 275 yards.

Jared Goff passed for 203 yards for the Lions, who also lost to Baltimore on a last-second field goal this season. Swift had a combined 104 yards rushing and receiving.

The Vikings took a 13-6 halftime lead.

The Lions struck first on Austin Seibert’s 39-yard field goal.

Joseph tied it with a 38-yard field goal on Minnesota’s first possession.

Following a Detroit turnover, Joseph connected on another 38-yard try.

The first touchdown came on an 88-yard drive. Justin Jefferson had receptions of 14 and 22 yards, setting up Cousins’ 15-yard scoring strike to Mattison.

The Lions cut their deficit to seven points on Seibert’s 52-yard field goal during the final minute of the half.

Joseph drilled a 55-yard field goal with 4:28 remaining to give the Vikings a two-possession cushion. Cousins completed five passes on that drive.

Goff was sacked on consecutive plays on Detroit’s next possession as it turned the ball over on downs.

The Lions made it a seven-point game with 2:30 remaining on Seibert’s 40-yard field goal.

A Mattison fumble with 1:56 left at his own 20-yard line, recovered by Jalen Reeves-Maybin, gave the Lions another chance. They took advantage on Swift’s 7-yard run up the middle. KhaDarel Hodge caught Goff’s heave near the back of the end zone to put the Lions ahead 17-16.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs with the ball for a touchdown in the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (ankle) inactive vs. Lions

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook was ruled inactive for Sunday’s game against the visiting Detroit Lions.

Cook will miss his second game of the season with an ankle injury initially sustained during the Vikings’ 34-33 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 19. The two-time Pro Bowl selection missed the next week’s contest against the Seattle Seahawks before rushing for 34 yards in Minnesota’s 14-7 loss to Cleveland Browns last Sunday.

Cook, who was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Lions, has 51 carries for 226 yards and one touchdown for the Vikings (1-3).

Alexander Mattison is expected to carry the load in the backfield on Sunday. He has 40 carries for 145 yards in four games this season.

Quarterback Kellen Mond, wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette, guard Wyatt Davis, defensive tackle Michael Pierce and defensive end Patrick Jones II were also listed as inactive.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass as Detroit Lions defensive tackle John Penisini (91) pressures during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins looking to carve up winless Lions

Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings’ offense stalled in Week 4.

A matchup at home Sunday against Detroit, the only winless NFC team, could get that unit back on track.

Cousins, who grew up in Michigan and starred at Michigan State, is 6-0 against the Lions since joining the Vikings in 2018. In seven career games against Detroit, Cousins has completed 74.2 percent of his passes, including 16 touchdowns, with just one interception.

“No real specific reason,” Cousins said of his success against the Lions. “Every game is its own entity. You’ve just got to go out and find a way to get the win. No previous game or future game is in (my) mind going into this one.”

Cousins was under heavy pressure in a 14-7 loss to Cleveland. He threw for a season-low 203 yards and was intercepted for the first time in four games.

Minnesota (1-3) also couldn’t run the ball against the Browns, held to 65 yards on 23 attempts. Dalvin Cook, who is battling through an ankle injury, carried nine times for 34 yards.

The Vikings will be playing at home for the third consecutive weekend.

The Lions (0-4) haven’t scored a point before halftime in their last two games, including a 24-14 loss to Chicago on Sunday. That has forced them to rely too often on Jared Goff and his unimposing group of receivers.

“We can’t get in one of these (where) we’re down, we’re in two-minute mode and we have to throw it every play,” first-year coach Dan Campbell said. “They know it and we know it. That doesn’t serve us well all the time.”

Campbell hopes to avoid a lot of long yardage situations against a Vikings pass rush that has recorded 13 sacks, two shy of the league lead.

“When they know they can get you in pass downs, it’s an issue,” he said. “They’re a fast, aggressive defense.”

The Vikings’ defense could be even more dangerous with the return of linebacker Anthony Barr. He missed most of last year with a torn pectoral muscle, and he’s been sidelined the first four games this season by a knee injury.

“I feel good about it,” coach Mike Zimmer said of Barr’s chances of returning. “He hasn’t played in over a year, so we’ve just got to get him back in the groove of being physical, making the checks and understanding where he’s at and kind of go from there.”

Campbell gambled on a trio of fourth downs against the Bears and his offense only converted one of them, killing any hopes of a comeback.

“Look, 0-4 stings but at the same time we’re not as far away as it appears to be,” he said. “We were two plays away last week from winning that game.”

Injuries complicate the Lions’ chances of getting that elusive victory. Center Frank Ragnow has been placed on IR with a turf toe injury, joining tackle Taylor Decker. Linebacker Romeo Okwara is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon.

Two other key Lions offensive players, tight end T.J. Hockenson (knee) and tackle Penei Sewell (ankle), missed Wednesday’s practice.

Cook, linebacker Nick Vigil (ankle) and defensive lineman Michael Pierce (elbow) sat out the Vikings’ practice.

–Field Level Media

Oct 3, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) reaches for the endzone to score a touchdown as Minnesota Vikings free safety Xavier Woods (23) defends during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Browns’ defense stymies Vikings

The visiting Cleveland Browns turned in another stellar defensive effort and held on for a 14-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at Minneapolis.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled — hitting just 15 of 33 passes for 155 yards — but the Browns (3-1) climbed into a tie for first in the AFC North with their third straight win behind a rugged running game. Nick Chubb rushed for 100 yards on 21 carries, and Kareem Hunt added 69 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

The Vikings (1-3) were held to 255 total yards and never crossed the Cleveland 20-yard line after their first possession. Kirk Cousins finished 20-of-38 passing for 203 yards with a touchdown and an interception as the Vikings never got the running game on track. Dalvin Cook was held to 34 yards on nine carries.

Justin Jefferson led all receivers with six catches for 84 yards and the touchdown.

Up 11-7 at the half, Cleveland extended the lead to 14-7 with 6:16 remaining after Chase McLaughlin connected on a 53-yard field goal.

On the Vikings’ next offensive play, Cousins’ deep attempt to Adam Thielen was picked off by cornerback Greedy Williams — who started in the place of injured rookie Greg Newsome II. It was the first interception in 226 attempts for Cousins, and the first of Williams’ career.

Minnesota drove to the Cleveland 33-yard line on its next possession, but the Browns pressured Cousins into a pair of incompletions on third and fourth down to end the possession.
The Vikings’ last possession ended when Cousin’s throw into the end zone as time expired fell short.

Minnesota was sharp out of the gate, with Cousins hitting his first six passes, and took a 7-0 on the game’s first possession. Cousins hit Justin Jefferson with a 12-yard touchdown to cap a 14-play, 75-yard drive that took off half the first quarter clock. It was Cousins’ 100th TD pass with the Vikings.

The Vikings notched 80 yards on that initial possession, but tallied only 175 more the rest of the way. Cleveland finished with 327 total yards, and outgained Minnesota on the ground 184-65.

The Browns were scoreless until late in the first half. After a defensive holding penalty gave Cleveland a first down on the 1-yard line, Hunt plowed in for a 1-yard score with 1:16 left. After the Vikings called a timeout they didn’t have on the extra point, Cleveland converted a two-point conversion from the 1-yard line when Mayfield flipped it to Andy Janovich for an 8-7 lead.

Cleveland tacked on a 48-yard field goal by McLaughlin with two seconds left in the half for an 11-7 lead at the break.

–Field Level Media