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The Vikings might need a few more weeks to get their overall game plan together so in the meantime give up the points and take the Cardinals at home.
The Minnesota Vikings Week 1 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals was the result of an uncharacteristic overtime fumble by star running back Dalvin Cook, but before that quarterback, Kirk Cousins and WR Adam Thielen rediscovered their dangerous connection, the two pairings up for 9 completions and 92 yards with two touchdowns that same day.
In Week 1, Arizona Cardinals young quarterback Kyler Murray found veteran receiver DeAndre Hopkins six times for 83 yards and two touchdowns, the duo making the Tennessee Titans look helpless as the Cards coasted to an easy 38-13 win with the help of LB Chandler Jones who posted 5 impressive sacks in his ongoing quest to get paid.
These two NFC teams have played each other 28 prior times (including 2 postseason games), with the Arizona Cardinals winning 11 of those games and the Minnesota Vikings winning 17 of the games.
Last week’s Vikings loss came soon after running back Dalvin Cook lost the football, something that happened 17 times last season and 13 times the year before, a fumbling habit that marks the only real negative against the many positives that belong to Cook.
Now in his fifth NFL season, Cook is a dual-threat who averages 4.7 yards per carry and 8.6 yards per reception, the guy with 37 total touchdowns as a pro and a factor that the opposition must game plan around.
Cook will face a Cardinals rush defense that was ranked 22nd last season after allowing 125.5 yards on the ground per game, so this Sunday Cook could have a big outing in Arizona and make up for his game-losing fumble in Week 1.
One of the biggest struggles of Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray since he entered the league has been throwing the ball to the opposition, the rocket-armed Murray so far with 12 interceptions in each of his first two seasons.
So far Murray has thrown a pick in Week 1 this season, but he countered that with four touchdown passes and almost 290 passing yards, a production that if sustained would keep Murray and head coach Kliff Kingsbury quite happy.
Back at Oklahoma where Murray played the majority of his college ball, he threw no interceptions in 7 games his sophomore year and only 7 picks in 14 games his junior year on his way to winning the Heisman in 2018, so bringing that type of accuracy to the pro level could equate into more wins, something the Cardinals are certainly striving for in 2021.
At 6’ 5” and 252 pounds, the Vikings star defensive end Danielle Hunter should be a huge factor in Sunday’s game, the former LSU alum already with a sack in Week 1 this season, bringing his career total to a whopping 55.5 sacks, the man taking down NFL QBs since 2015.
When you look at some of Hunter’s other numbers, you can see why he has been a Minnesota defensive mainstay for all these years, so far with 81 total quarterback hits, 6 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, 2 touchdowns, and 282 combined tackles.
Watch for Hunter to get after Murray on Sunday facing the Cardinals front line including OT’s DJ Humphries and Kelvin Beachum, either way chances are he’ll find the quarterback – it’s what he’s paid to do and does awfully well.
The Cardinals scored big time this offseason when they somehow managed to lure free-agent defensive end, JJ Watt, to their warm-weather franchise, the 3x NFL Defensive Player of the Year now 32 years old and ready to make his final pro football run in Arizona.
With 101 total sacks in his 10-year NFL career along with 283 quarterback hits and 25 forced fumbles, it’s no wonder just about every football franchise was champing at the free-agent bit the last offseason to get Watt to come to play with them.
The Cardinals scored Watt with a $28 million contract (with $23 million guaranteed) so look for JJ to be a huge factor in ruining the gameplan of Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, a guy who might already be nervous after having had to endure 3 sacks already in Week 1.
|Vikings vs Cardinals Information|
|Teams||Minnesota Vikings vs Arizona Cardinals|
|Location||State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona|
|Time||Sunday, September 19, 2021; 4:05 PM ET|
|How to watch||FOX|
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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