The Vikings Top Defensive Performers vs. Cardinals, per PFF

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The Vikings Top Defensive Performers vs. Cardinals

The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Arizona Cardinals in Week 8, 34-26, in a game where Minnesota’s pass rush stole the show.

Minnesota’s offense was actually consistent, too, for one of the first times in 2022. Kirk Cousins and Co. scored two touchdowns in the 3rd Quarter, the first 3rd-Quarter paydirts of the season. The Vikings front seven on defense also played its best game of 2022.

On defense, these were the top performers per Pro Football Focus:

1. Za’Darius Smith (81.6)
2. Patrick Peterson (81.0)
3. Patrick Jones (76.9)
4. Jordan Hicks (76.5)
5. Harrison Phillips (68.9)

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The “two Cardinals” exacted revenge, playing a pivotal role in containing Kyler Murray and friends. Patrick Peterson fired up another elite game, tallying 4 tackles and 3 passes-defended. Jordan Hicks had 6 tackles as both former Cardinals helped ensured victory for their new team.

Za’Darius Smith was the game’s MVP, notching 7 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 QB hits, 3 sacks, and 1 pass-defended. The Vikings pass rusher is, by far, the best addition to the roster from the offseason and might just be the best free-agent signing from the entire NFL free-agency period in March and April.

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Patrick Jones played just 15 snaps, but when on the field, he performed wonderfully. He accrued 1 tackle for loss on Sunday, appearing ready for a large defensive role throughout the rest of the season or in 2023.

Finally, Harrison Phillips tabulated 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hit, and a game-ending sack. Phillips ventured to Minnesota from Buffalo in March and is hitting his stride in Ed Donatell’s defense.

Even in victory, “the bad” must be highlighted, so these were the “worst” performers on defense:

3. Harrison Smith (54.3)
2. D.J. Wonnum (46.6)
1. Ross Blacklock (42.1)

The Vikings hit the road for Week 9, taking on the hot Washington Commanders in the nation’s capital, a franchise currently led by former Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke.

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Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).