The Arizona Cardinals will look to hand the Minnesota Vikings their fifth-straight loss in their upcoming Week 11 matchup.
The Arizona Cardinals will aim to build off of last week’s victory against the San Francisco 49ers with a road win against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
What’s their story?
The Vikings will look to get back into the win column for the first time in five weeks. After their unforeseen 5-0 start to the season, they’ve lost four straight and coughed up their NFC North division lead to the Detroit Lions, who are tied with the Vikings for first place.
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Minnesota has been without two of their best players for a majority of the season. Running back Adrian Peterson suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee during their Week 2 contest with the Green Bay Packers. Peterson was placed on the injured reserved list on September 23.
On August 30, starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater dislocated his knee and tore his ACL in practice. The following week, the 23-year old underwent surgery and has been active with rehab since.
"“Nearly two months after he dislocated his knee, Bridgewater is making strides and Vikings officials are pleased with where he’s at. But other doctors around the league know there are no guarantees Bridgewater will be able to return to the type of quarterback he was, if he makes it back to the NFL at all,” Schefter reported on an episode of Sunday morning’s NFL Countdown."
On September 3, just a little over a week before the season’s opener, the Vikings acquired quarterback Sam Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for two future draft picks.
Shaun Hill started the Vikings’ opener against the Tennessee Titans, leading his team to a 25-16 win. But, the week later, Bradford took over as the starter.
In his Vikings debut, Bradford threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns and recorded the team’s second straight win, 17-14 against the Packers. Bradford has been a pleasant surprise for the team through the seven games he has featured in. He is averaging 288 yards per game, and has thrown for 11 touchdowns with only two interceptions. And better yet, the Vikings were off to a 5-0 start thanks to their interim quarterback.
X’s and O’s
After two-straight losses in Weeks 7 and 8, offensive coordinator Norv Turner unexpectedly resigned. The move came as a shock, but Turner said it was “in the best interest of the team to step down.” Through the first five games, Turner’s offense averaged 23.8 points per game. In the two straight losses against the Eagles and Bears, the Vikings scored just ten points in both games.
With interim offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Minnesota has lost two straight and averaged 18 points per game. The stagnant offense is a big reason as to why the Vikings are now 5-4. Through nine games, the team is 32nd in yards per game (302.3), 26th in scoring (19.4), and 32nd in rushing yards per game (69.8).
Thanks to one of the best defenses in the league, the Vikings have been able to remain in playoff contention. Defensive coordinator George Edwards has his team ranked third in the league for yards allowed per game (308.8), first in points allowed per game (16.9), and sixth in passing yards per game (211.8).
For the Cardinals, their contest with the Vikings comes at an ideal time. Minnesota hasn’t won a game since their Week 5, 31-13 pounding versus the Houston Texans. The Cardinals need a win, too, in order to keep their postseason hopes alive. Their 4-4-1 record is good for second place in the NFC West.
Minnesota’s defense is clearly its strong suit. If they are able to get their offense going again, they would be in good shape to be back-to-back NFC North champs for the first time since the 2008-09 seasons.