Cards work to prove stellar Week 1 was no fluke vs. Vikings
MINNESOTA (0-1) at ARIZONA (1-0)
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT, Fox
OPENING LINE: Cardinals by 3 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Minnesota 0-1; Arizona 1-0
SERIES RECORD: Vikings lead 17-11.
LAST MEETING: Vikings beat Cardinals 27-17 in Minnesota on Oct. 14, 2018.
LAST WEEK: Vikings lost to Bengals 27-24 (OT); Cardinals beat Titans 38-13.
VIKINGS OFFENSE: OVERALL (13), RUSH (27), PASS (4), SCORING (17).
VIKINGS DEFENSE: OVERALL (12), RUSH (26), PASS (11), SCORING (T-17).
CARDINALS OFFENSE: OVERALL (11), RUSH (9), PASS (13), SCORING (T-2).
CARDINALS DEFENSE: OVERALL (2), RUSH (13), PASS (4), SCORING (T-3).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Vikings minus-1; Cardinals plus-2.
VIKINGS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Adam Thielen. He had the 40th and 41st touchdown catches of his career against the Bengals, forming a potent connection with QB Kirk Cousins.
CARDINALS PLAYER TO WATCH: DE Chandler Jones. The 31-year-old tied a franchise record with five sacks against the Tennessee Titans to earn NFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 1.
KEY MATCHUP: Arizona’s pass rush against Cousins. The Cardinals’ defense looked excellent against the Titans, specifically along the defensive line. The Cardinals added three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt during the offseason to help free Jones and it clearly worked in the opening week. Jones and Watt get much of the attention, but Arizona’s line is deep with Leki Fotu, Rashard Lawrence, Zach Allen, Corey Peters and Michael Dogbe all making an impact.
KEY INJURIES: CB Harrison Hand (hamstring) and LB Anthony Barr (knee) were the only two players not to participate in practice on Wednesday. OL Christian Darrisaw (groin) and LB Nick Vigil (ankle) were limited. ... The Cardinals came out of Week 1 relatively healthy though starting RT Kelvin Beachum (ribs) is day to day after leaving the game against the Titans.
SERIES NOTES: The Vikings have dominated the series in recent seasons, winning five of the past six matchups going back to 2010. Most of those games have been fairly close, with only one decided by more than 10 points. ... The home team has won seven in a row in the series and 11 of the past 12. ... The two teams have played each other more often in recent seasons, meeting nine of the past 14 years.
STATS AND STUFF: Jones had a strip-sack of Cousins at Minnesota in 2018 that was returned for a TD by Budda Baker. The Vikings won 27-17, but Cousins also had an interception and took four sacks. Thielen had 11 catches for 123 yards and a TD in that game. ... This is only the second trip to Arizona for the Vikings in the past 12 seasons. They lost there in 2015. ... Vikings CB Patrick Peterson returns to Arizona, where he spent the first 10 seasons of his career. The three-time All-Pro signed with Minnesota during the offseason. ... Arizona’s defense has another tough test against a good running back. The Cardinals faced Titans’ RB Derrick Henry in Week 1 and now must face Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook. Henry and Cook were the top two rushers in the NFL last season. ... The Cardinals started three rookies in the opener, including LB Zaven Collins, WR Rondale Moore and CB Marco Wilson. ... Arizona’s Jones has 102 sacks in 125 games. That’s the No. 2 sack rate per game in NFL history for defenders who have played at least 75 games. Reggie White is No. 1. ... Vikings backup center Mason Cole was traded from the Cardinals during the offseason for a sixth-round draft pick. Cole started for the Cardinals in 2020.
FANTASY TIP: Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds remains a solid flex option, flashing the same run-pass versatility that made him valuable in 2020. He splits time in the backfield with James Conner, but appears to be the strong side of the platoon. Edmonds had 63 yards rushing and 43 yards receiving with a touchdown in Week 1.
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