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Vikings vs. Cardinals: Numbers, PFF Grades and Preview

NFL Regular Season Week 6: Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals

Well, this sounds familiar. Another “inferior” opponent featuring a rookie quarterback named Josh is headed to Minneapolis as a heavy underdog. The last time it happened things didn’t pan out as expected for the home team. In fact, the result was quite embarrassing. In retrospect, things happened behind the scenes that may or may not have impacted the psyche of the players. This time around, things are different. Right?

The Vikings (2-2-1) are coming off a revenge victory over the defending Super Bowl Champions. The offense continued to shine while the league’s top defense from yesteryear rebounded after struggling mightily throughout the first quarter of the season.

Arizona (1-4) is coming off their first win of the season, an ugly victory over the crippled 49ers in San Francisco last Sunday. It was a rare bright spot for an Cardinals team that has gone through its share of disappointment lately.

Looking back to the offseason, the Cardinals were losers in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes and their Plan B Sam Bradford experiment failed miserably. More recently, a nagging hamstring injury to star receiver Larry Fitzgerald as well as the announcement that the team is willing to trade stud cornerback Patrick Peterson for draft picks has added to the misery. Teetering on the edge of building momentum or rebuilding the roster, the Cardinals will look to build on any positives they can as they face a tough test today at U.S. Bank Stadium.

On the other sideline things appear to be rounding into form. The Vikings, typically known (under Zimmer) for having a strong defense and controlling the clock, were able to do so against the Eagles last week. They’ll look to build upon that performance and establish those familiar traits today.

The Vikings offense has been pass-first for much of the season. However, offensive coordinator John DeFilippo may look to control the time of possession via the rush as the Cardinals feature the league’s second-worst run defense. Minnesota has zero rushing touchdowns on offense this season, but Arizona has given up a league-high seven touchdowns on the ground. With Dalvin Cook listed as questionable and reportedly on a “pitch count,” again today, that could mean more snaps for the healthy Latavius Murray and/or Roc Thomas and Mike Boone.

Speaking of rush defense, the Vikings have allowed zero rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs this season. The only two TD’s given up on the ground by Minnesota were in the loss to the Bills, both by quarterback Josh Allen. Cardinals QB Josh Rosen isn’t as big of a threat on the ground as Allen, but running back David Johnson is one of the best backs in the league when at the top of his game. The goal for Zimmer and the defense will be shutting down Johnson early.

It’s easy for Vikings fans to think this is another trap game, and for good reason. But the Vikings just beat one of the best teams in football on the road and the coaches will continue to drive home the message to players to “finish.” Again, anything can happen on any given Sunday, but it’s tough to believe the team wouldn’t learn from the loss they suffered at the hands of the Bills in Week 3.

After all, in the words of George W. Bush: “There’s an old saying in Tennessee [Minnesota] I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee [Minnesota] that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you… Fool me you can’t get fooled again.”

Here’s how the teams stack up by the numbers.


MINNESOTA VIKINGS

  • The Vikings home record in 2018 is 1-1

Notable Pro Football Focus grades

  • QB Kirk Cousins: 83.9 (#10)
  • WR Adam Thielen: 87.7 (#3)
  • WR Stefon Diggs: 79.0 (#19)
  • DE Danielle Hunter: 68.6 (#45)
  • DT Linval Joseph: 72.9 (#38)
  • DT Sheldon Richardson: 76.8 (#28)
  • S Harrison Smith: 72.4 (#31)

2018 team offense

  • Total offense: 14th (387.2 YPG)
  • Passing: 3rd (321.4 YPG)
  • Rushing: 31st (65.8 YPG)
  • Scoring: 18th (22.6 PPG)
  • Turnover ratio: 18th (-1)
  • Third down conversions: 6th (43%)
  • Red zone percentage: 19th (50%)

2018 offensive leaders

  • Passing: QB Kirk Cousins: 1688 yards with 11 TD’s and 2 INT’s
  • Rushing yards: RB Latavius Murray: 106
  • Receiving yards: WR Adam Thielen: 589
  • Receiving TD’s: WR Adam Thielen & WR Stefon Diggs: 3

2018 team defense

  • Total defense: 21st (378.0 YPG)
  • Passing: 25th (278.6 YPG)
  • Rushing: 13th (99.4 YPG)
  • Scoring: 23rd (26.2 PPG)
  • Third-down conversions: 3rd (30%)
  • Red zone percentage: 4th (33.3%)

Fantasy defense

  • Passing allowed to opposing QB’s: 1,514 yards, 10 TD & 3 INTs
  • Rushing allowed to opposing RB’s: 401 yards & 0 TD’s
  • Receiving allowed to opposing WR’s: 832 yards & 6 TD’s
  • Receiving allowed to opposing TE’s: 372 yards & 2 TD’s

2018 defensive leaders

  • Tackles: LB Eric Kendricks: 32
  • Sacks: DE Danielle Hunter: 5
  • Interceptions: S Harrison Smith, CB Mike Hughes and CB Xavier Rhodes: 1

ARIZONA CARDINALS

  • Arizona’s away record in 2018 is 1-1

Notable Pro Football Focus grades

  • QB Josh Rosen: 64.0 (#26)
  • WR Larry Fitzgerald: 62.7 (#70)
  • WR Christian Kirk: 65.8 (#54)
  • RB David Johnson: 59.0 (#47)
  • CB Patrick Peterson: 80.6 (#3)
  • CB Budda Baker: 69.7 (#25)
  • DE Chandler Jones: 71.5 (#34)

2018 team offense

  • Total offense: 32nd (210.8 YPG)
  • Passing: 31st (146.2 YPG)
  • Rushing: 32nd (64.6 YPG)
  • Scoring: 31st (11.5 PPG)
  • Turnover ratio: 14th (+1)
  • Third-down conversions: 31st (26%)
  • Red zone percentage: 4th (71%)

2018 offensive leaders

  • Passing: QB Josh Rosen: 386 yards with 2 TD’s & 1 INT
  • Rushing yards: RB David Johnson: 242
  • Rushing TD’s: RB David Johnson: 4
  • Receiving yards: WR Christian Kirk: 234
  • Receiving TD’s: WR Kirk, WR Ricky Seals-Jones, WR Chad Williams, RB Johnson: 1

2018 team defense

  • Total defense: 24th (391.0 YPG)
  • Passing: 13th (248.6 YPG)
  • Rushing: 31st (142.4 YPG)
  • Scoring: 11th (22.4 PPG)
  • Third-down conversions: 21st (42%)
  • Red zone percentage: 24th (67%)

Fantasy defense

  • Passing allowed to opposing QB’s: 1,350 yards, 5 TD’s and 4 INT’s
  • Rushing allowed to opposing RB’s: 660 yards & 7 TD’s
  • Receiving allowed to opposing WR’s: 785 yards & 1 TD
  • Receiving allowed to opposing TE’s: 226 yards & 2 TD’s

2018 defensive leaders

  • Tackles: DB Budda Baker: 46
  • Sacks: DE Chandler Jones: 4
  • Interceptions: S Tre Boston: 2

  • Sunday’s game is at noon (CST) and will be shown locally on FOX 9
  • Stats courtesy of NFL.com and Pro Football Reference
  • NEXT WEEK: Vikings at Jets

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Sean Borman

Sean Borman is a writer with Minnesota roots that's still somehow an optimist. He was an intern with the Vikings during college and previously wrote for Rant Sports. You can find Sean on the golf course and on Twitter @SeanBoarMan.

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