The Vikings will have to wait another week to clinch the NFC North.
A 31-24 loss to the Panthers Sunday at Bank of America Stadium prevented the Vikings (10-3) from claiming a postseason invitation.
The Vikings (10-3) still could have clinched the division with losses by both the Packers and Lions, but the Packers rallied to beat the Browns in overtime and the Lions held off the Buccaneers late.
The Panthers (9-4) got 103 rushing yards from Jonathan Stewart and Carolina's defense stifled Minnesota's offense. Stewart scored three touchdowns for the first time in his career.
Vikings quarterback Case Keenum was sacked six times and had three turnovers. The Panthers kept their own postseason hopes alive, pulling even with the Saints in the NFC South. The Saints do own a tiebreaker, however, by way of a season sweep.
Here are three takeaways from the Panthers' win over the Vikings
1. Carolina shredded Minnesota's second-ranked defense — The Vikings not only ranked second in total defense, they had the NFL's second-ranked rush defense.
The longest run the Vikings defense had allowed all season was 37 yards. Stewart broke off a 60-yard scamper to get Carolina on the board first.
The Panthers were efficient with 216 rushing yards on 36 carries thanks to a great day by the offensive line.
2. Injuries are catching up to the Vikings — Minnesota started four offensive linemen who were not opening-day starters. The Vikings then lost tackle Riley Reiff early in the second half. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes was at less than 100 percent and was in and out of Sunday's game.
Perhaps the biggest injury in Sunday's game was to tight end Kyle Rudolph, who hurt his right foot and had just three catches for 41 yards and an 18-yard touchdown. Without one of his favorite targets for part of the game, Keenum had a tough day. He was under constant duress and completed 27 of his 44 pass attempts for 280 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
3. Cam Newton hasn't lost his MVP form — When there was nothing there, Newton made something happen. He was a magician at times against Minnesota's vaunted defense. Newton was 13 of 25 for 137 passing yards and ran for 70 yards, including a 62-yard jaunt to set up Stewart's game-winning end zone dive with 1:47 remaining.
While the numbers weren't eye-popping, Newton's ability to extend plays helped the Panthers offense keep drives alive. He also pulled a Houdini act in the third quarter, escaping a sack and then firing a dart to Devin Funchess for an 18-yard touchdown.
Newton completed passes to five different receivers as Funchess had a team-high 59 yards on three catches.