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Game Preview: Arizona Cardinals vs. Minnesota Vikings

How to watch information, previews, injuries and key players for the Arizona Cardinals home opener against the Vikings.

The Cardinals will take the field at home in front of a packed crowd for the first time since the 2019 season on Sunday. 

Their home-opening matchup will be against former longtime Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings. 

Since Minnesota is a common opponent for each NFC West team, this could be an important win for Arizona to earn in the division or wild-card race. It's early, but Week 3 and 4 losses last year to Detroit and Carolina hurt the Cardinals down the stretch. 

Essential info

Need to Knows

Game time/date

Sunday, Sept. 19 at 1:05 p.m. AZ time

TV

FOX with Gus Johnson, Aqib Talib and Megan Olivi

Radio

Arizona Sports 98.7 FM with Dave Pasch, Ron Wolfley and Paul Calvisi

Spanish radio

KQMR 100.3 FM with Luis Hernandez and Rolando Cantu

Betting favorites

Cardinals -3.5

Point total over/under

50.5

About Week 1

The Cardinals were in control of their season opener from the first quarter on, taking a 10-0 lead after seven minutes and never relinquishing it. 

The defense was stout, holding the top rusher from 2020 in Derrick Henry to 58 yards on the ground. The pass rush did not allow quarterback Ryan Tannehill to breathe with six sacks — five from NFC Defensive Player of the Week Chandler Jones — and nine quarterback hits. 

"If we can stop the run and we can win first down, then we can dictate second and third down which, obviously allows us to rush the passer," defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said Thursday. "You want to be in third-and-eight-plus and that way rushers can rush. So far, so good."

On offense, quarterback Kyler Murray threw four touchdown passes, each of which were very different plays. He hit DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk twice each. Murray also had a touchdown run. 

The Vikings had a less optimal Week 1, losing to the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime on the road 27-24. 

Minnesota really struggled to block, allowing the second-highest stuff percentage and the fifth-lowest adjusted line yards in the NFL. 

Quarterback Kirk Cousins was productive with 351 yards and two touchdowns despite taking seven hits, but the run game never got going. 

The offense had two possessions in overtime to try and win the game, but it gained just 30 net yards. Ultimately, a fumble by running back Dalvin Cook led to their defeat. 

Inside slant 

The Vikings offense looks similar to the Titans in several ways. 

Both have a stud at running back, as Cook is a two-time Pro Bowler who gained 1,557 yards on the ground last year. Each team has two dynamic receivers: Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen in Minnesota's case. 

Cousins does not have Tannehill's ability to move, but was slightly more accurate in the pocket last year.

"It's very similar, obviously different types of players, but the offense, it's a West Coast, stretch offense," Joseph said. "The quarterback is a good player. The runner is a very good player and the receivers are good players, so it's very similar to what we obviously had to deal with last week and the challenges, the balancing act between stopping the run and exposure in the pass game."

But, if the Vikings struggle to stop the oncoming pass rush again, the Cardinals showed last week how disruptive they can be. 

Jones dominated one-on-one in Tennessee, and if he gets doubled, the Cardinals have Markus Golden on the other side and J.J. Watt inside who can apply pressure. 

The Vikings defense was also equipped to reach the quarterback last week, finishing ahead of Arizona in adjusted sack rate. 

Health could play a factor for the Vikings defense in this game. 

Inside linebacker Eric Kendricks led the team in tackles in Week 1, but he is questionable for Sunday. Veteran defensive end Everson Griffen and outside linebacker Anthony Barr are ruled out. Barr also did not play in Week 1.

Still, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is on his toes in regards to facing Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer's defensive scheme and his "exotic" blitzes.

"He's done a great job evolving over the years," Kingsbury said. "He's one of the best at maximizing his personnel, whomever he's got out there. It will be a real challenge."

Defensive tackle Michael Pierce led the way with two sacks last week. 

The return of Pat P

Peterson was a staple in the Cardinals defense for a decade, making three All-Pro first teams in that span. He is second in team history in passes defensed.

This offseason, he signed a one-year deal with the Vikings.

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) looks on against the Washington Football Team during the first half at State Farm Stadium.

Throughout the rest of the break, he criticized the Cardinals for how they handled his departure, saying on his podcast All Things Covered that Arizona strung him along with no intention of re-signing him. 

He said more recently that Sunday is just another game, contradicting what he mentioned early this offseason on the podcast that he had Week 2 circled. 

He could potentially get matched up on Hopkins, a familiar face from practice last year. 

Matchup History

The Vikings owned this matchup throughout the 2010s, winning five of six games in that span. 

But, Murray and Kingsbury have yet to face the Vikings, as the last bout between the two organizations was in 2018. 

Cousins and the Vikings beat the Josh Rosen-led Cardinals 27-17 in the most recent game. 

Thielen had 123 receiving yards while Cardinals rookie wideout Christian Kirk led Arizona with 77. 

Jones finished with 1.5 sacks and nose tackle Corey Peters had two. Safety Budda Baker returned a fumble 36 yards for a touchdown.

Injury report

Cardinals Injury Report

PlayerInjuryStatus

RT Kelvin Beachum

Ribs

Questionable 

OLB Devon Kennard

Hamstring

Out

S Charles Washington

Thigh

-

Vikings Injury Report

PlayerInjuryStatus

OLB Anthony Barr

Knee

Out

CB Harrison Hand

Hamstring

Out

OT Christian Darrisaw

Groin

Out

LB Nick Vigil

Ankle

-

DE Everson Griffen

Concussion

Out

ILB Eric Kendricks 

Quadriceps 

Questionable

Player to Watch

Players to watch

ExpertPlayerReasoning

Howard Balzer

A.J. Green

With attention being paid to DeAndre Hopkins, Green will be the third player this season to score two touchdowns in a game.

Alex Weiner

J.J. Watt

Chandler Jones dominated from the edge last week. If Minnesota doubles him, Watt could get the opening he needs to make noise inside. 

Donnie Druin

Josh Jones

Jones has quite the task ahead of him after his first start at right guard, especially if right tackle Kelvin Beachum isn't ready to go against Minnesota. 


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