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Friday before the Vikings

Posted by Darren Urban on November 18, 2016 – 4:20 pm

The very first game Larry Fitzgerald played in the NFL was in Minnesota. That’s where the Cardinals opened the preseason in 2004. (He was targeted twice, making one catch for five yards.)

The first game Fitzgerald played that counted in Minnesota was in 2006, and that’s the game he set his regular-season best in yards, with 172 on 11 catches. (He had 176 yards against the Packers in the playoffs in 2015.)

Fitz insists this is just a business trip, and truth be told, he spends enough summer time in Minnesota where I could see how he would be able to separate. Shameless plug: Here’s the story I did after going to Minnesota in 2012 and talking to him at his house on the lake.

(By the way, one part of the interview burned into my brain from that Minny visit: Did you know Fitz wants to go into space?)

Besides, Fitzgerald has big enough reasons to want to get this one aside from his 0-4 record against the Vikings in Minnesota (The Fitz-era Cardinals are 2-1 against the Vikings in Arizona.) It’s not the fact the franchise hasn’t won there since a 1977 game, with an eight-game losing streak. It’s the fact the Cardinals need the win basically to stay in the playoff race. Mathematically they won’t be eliminated, but with a game coming in Atlanta and the Vikings struggling like they are, this one is crucial. No way to argue otherwise.

— It’s easy to wonder about the Cardinals’ offensive line, and John Wetzel and D.J. Humphries will be tested (yes, that is an understatement) against this front in this building. The Cards have to run the ball better than they did last week, you’d think.

But the Vikings are facing the same issues, if not moreso. With no Adrian Peterson and line injuries, the Vikings have one of the worst rushing offenses in the league. QB Sam Bradford has been solid when he has time – he’s only thrown two picks – but he can be sacked. For the noticeable hiccups the Cardinals have had on defense, and some blown coverages, the Cardinals have allowed a league-low 4.7 yards per play this season and their pass defense has nine interceptions and has allowed only six passing touchdowns.

— Along those lines, the Patrick Peterson-covering-Stefon Diggs matchup is incredibly intriguing. Diggs has made 26 catches total the last two games. That’s a huge number. By comparison, Pro Football Focus has Peterson allowing just 20 receptions all season.

— The Vikings have 38-year-old cornerback Terence Newman, who has played a significant role. Peterson shook his head at such longevity. Peterson, at age 26 in his sixth year, said he wants to make double-digits for a career before he thinks beyond that.

“My mindset is I want to go as long as my body will let me go,” Peterson said.

— Michael Floyd is also going home this weekend. He’s from St. Paul. He was asked if he looked forward to seeing some snow, since it’s supposed to snow tonight. “I’m glad they have a roof,” he said with a smile, referencing the new stadium.

— We’ll see on Tyrann Mathieu playing. It felt like a red flag when Bruce Arians said he was sore on Friday. It’s hard to tell if the safety will be playing Sunday. It could be a true game-day decision.

— You feel better about Deone Bucannon playing, despite only one day of limited work. Arians said he was “fine.” He’d be an option on tight end Kyle Rudolph. The good thing for the Cardinals is that this is the first time in a while they aren’t dealing with a mobile QB (Wilson, albeit gimpy; Newton; Kaepernick).

— Fitz, by the way, had ditched the knee brace for Friday’s practice after wearing one Thursday (and in the second half of the 49ers game.)

— Will be cool to see the new building. Everything I have heard (and seen on TV) makes U.S. Bank Stadium the jewel it was supposed to be. We’ll see if the Cardinals can find a way to break their losing streak now that they’re in a new place.

befreminny


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Posted in Blog | 9 Comments »


9 Responses to “Friday before the Vikings”

  1. By D on Nov 18, 2016 | Reply

    A must win.

  2. By Andy Kw on Nov 18, 2016 | Reply

    Just win. Don’t care the score as long as qw win. A win is a win and I’ll take one however we can get it

  3. By Scott H on Nov 18, 2016 | Reply

    Face it, we’re in must-win mode every week for the rest of the season. That’s what we created for ourselves by going 3-4-1 over the first 8 games. Our QB may like where we’re at, but….I don’t. Hoping to like it better after this week.

    As stated previously, I’m hoping this will be a game that our defense wins for us. That will involve at least one score from them. And perhaps a T/O that sets us up in the red zone. Hopefully, that is not too much to ask against an offense like this. But ya wonder, after we just struggled against the 49ers.

    I’m not interested in seeing another win like we had last week. Step up or shut up. Win this game with some kind of authority that suggests this might be a team that can do something in the playoffs IF we actually make it. Otherwise, what is the point??

    And BTW, wouldn’t a ST’s score ( at some point this year ) be nice, too??

    It is time for this team to wake the hell up. Actually, it’s long past that point, but….you get the idea. I’m so tired of watching this team, so loaded with talent, play at the level it has been all year. Let’s wake up this week or let’s just keep sleeping.

    27-16 is pretty close to what I’d like to see. With US scoring the 27, of course.

  4. By shannon robinson on Nov 19, 2016 | Reply

    Winning in November is Sweet. This team is peaking at the right time. Strength in the Winter months through December is Championship Alley. A lot of decisions were made in September that are coming to fruition; like recognizing John Wetzel and keeping him on the roster. Our Coach has got to be happy that his team is capable of winning this extremely tough game on the road. This matchup is everything a Cards’ fan could hope for. Let’s go get Sam Bradford – we know how to play him with pressure. Give Carson time and everything else follows : No Risk It – No Biscuit!

  5. By azdesertrat1953 on Nov 19, 2016 | Reply

    “Patrick Peterson-covering-Stefon Diggs matchup is incredibly intriguing.”

    Yes Darren I Totally agree, it may well turn into a CB on WR high-light of the month game.

    Incredibly intriguing? Oh Heck Yes!

    GO CARDS!!!

  6. By Scott H on Nov 19, 2016 | Reply

    Wait a minute…this team is peaking at the right time??? OK, what games did I miss?? We just escaped the damn 49ers with a last second FG. Lost to the struggling Panthers the week before that. Had the ball for 46 minutes against Seattle the week before that and still couldn’t win the game. How does that equate, in any reasonable way, with peaking???

    If anything, I’d look at that as a three game stretch I’d really rather forget. Quickly.

    Wins against Minny AND Atlanta might resemble something close to peaking, but….what we’ve done up to this point? C’mon, man.

  7. By clssylssy on Nov 19, 2016 | Reply

    Going to have to come out strong and be able to close with authority, neither of which we’ve done to date. It sounds like BA is making the whole game about PP and Stefan Diggs, something that makes me skeptical, as the Vikes have a whole cast of other players who have given us fits in the past!
    At this point, I am without rose colored glasses and need some tangible evidence to hang my hopes on. Perhaps it just seems like wasted energy to be more enthusiastic than our QB!

  8. By shannon robinson on Nov 20, 2016 | Reply

    Look at the way their playing and Watch. They’re doing all the hard things well. Coaches get to look ahead, players have to delver. Christmas is coming.

  9. By clssylssy on Nov 20, 2016 | Reply

    What hard things are the Cards doing well? BA was quoted as saying the Vikings have more sacks than the Cards, so I’m REALLY wondering how we could possibly be ranked on defense as No.2? Our pass rush has been mediocre, and with the exception of the Seattle game our defense hasn’t been what it was when we had the “No Fly Zone” who created turnovers and gave us defensive scores. Tyrann has been a non-factor this season, and our secondary is like Swiss cheese…PP is NOT a shutdown corner, IMO, but he will have the opportunity to prove me wrong in this game against the Vikings. David and Larry are the only guys on offense at this point, that teams have to worry about as our small speedsters just can win the physical matches needed to be any kind of threat.

    What I would like to know is why, all of a sudden, the media seems to hate the Cardinals? Watching Fox this morning (the pre-Fox NFL Sundays, NOT w Bradshaw et al),NOBODY said anything positive about any of our players and really trash talked our team, when the fact is there are other teams who have really done worse (Packers have apparently reached”Sacred Cow” status). I can understand the frustration from the fans but the media??? We seemed to have gone from the team everybody was cheering for to the team everybody thinks is a complete joke–Thank You Steve Keim!

    The consensus of the Fox analysts was that this game wasn’t even worth watching, giving the Vikings the win because of home field advantage?

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