The Vikings got off to a promising start on their opening possession of the game as Matt Cassel continued where he left off two weeks ago and moved them downfield. However, this was soon stopped when he overthrew his receiver and was intercepted by Panthers safety Mike Mitchell for 24 yards.
Ron Rivera's side made the most of this turnover as quarterback Cam Newton moved the downfield with two conversions on fourth down, with the second resulting in a touchdown from Steve Smith as Newton found him in the end zone on a crossing route for a two-yard strike.
The Panther extended their advantage when Newton orchestrated another touchdown drive. This time he faked running the ball himself and then tossed it inside to running back Mike Tolbert, who ran through two tackles to reach the end zone on a 10-yard strike.
Leslie Frazier's side reduced their arrears just before the break through the boot of Blair Walsh as he knocked a 25-yard field goal through the posts to make it an 11-point game at half time.