Minnesota Vikings (6-1) – Arizona Cardinals (3-5): 34-26
Is it the presence of Jared Allen, honored at halftime by the Vikings, who motivated him? Za’Darius Smith was untenable. With 3 sacks on the famously elusive Kyler Murray (31/44, 326 yards, 3TDs, 2 ints; 6 races, 36 yards), the former Packers greatly influenced the result of the match. Another former to put forward, Patrick Peterson did not miss anything on his side of the field, remembering the good memories of his former franchise.
Unfortunately for Minnesota, it went less well on the other side of the field, where DeAndre Hopkins (12 receptions, 159 yards, 1TD) made Cameron Dantzler live hell. Insufficient, however, for Arizona, which had great difficulty in stopping the opposing ground game. Averaging 6 yards per carry over the entire game, Dalvin Cook (20 carries, 111 yards, 1TD) and company found space in what was the sixth-best defense on the ground before this game.
Minnesota starts better
The start of the game is to the advantage of the Vikings. Solid on the ground, the violets score the first touchdown of the match on a 17-yard run from Kirk Cousins (24/36, 232 yards, 2TDs; 4 races, 22 yards 1TD, 1 fumble), before increasing their lead thanks to Johnny Mundt, 14-3.
Manhandled by the local pass rush, Murray finds a way to put his team back in the game on his last possession before halftime. An incredible reception from DeAndre Hopkins allows Arizona to come back to 4 points at the end of the second quarter, 14-10.
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A series of bullet losses, fatal for Arizona
More aggressive, the Cardinals’ defense put pressure on Cousins and the purples stopped advancing. Hopkins continues to catch everything that is thrown in his direction and Zach Ertz (4 receptions, 34 yards, 1TD) finishes the job to give the advantage to Arizona, 14-17.
As often this season, the reaction of the Vikings is immediate. Cousins moved the chains with Jefferson (6 receptions, 98 yards) and Thielen (6 receptions, 67 yards) while Mattison (5 carries, 40 yards, 1TD) finished the job. The defense also gets level and Harrison Smith intercepts Murray. Cook sanctions the Cardinals and Minnesota takes off, 28-17.
It’s the Cardinals’ turn to show their ability to react. Rondale Moore (7 receptions, 92 yards, 1TD) will first bring his team to 5 points, followed by a fumble caused on Cousins. Arizona must settle for a field goal following this turnover, 28-26.
While the defense does the job, the Cardinals are betrayed by their special team. A fumble on the return of a punt which returns the ball to the locals on the opposing 25 yards. Once again, the Vikings punish this loss of ball with a touchdown, 34-26.
Back to the wall, the Cardinals chain an interception from Kyler Murray and a failure on fourth attempt. Kept alive by his defense, Arizona recovers the ball on its 13 yards, with less than two minutes to play and no time-out. Murray and Hopkins struggle to gain ground, but a final sack from Za’Darius Smith ends their hopes.
With this new victory, Minnesota consolidates its large lead in the NFC North. For the Cardinals, it’s a relapse after the victory against the Saints. With a record of 3 wins and 5 losses, we will now have to make an almost faultless to see the playoffs.