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What Went Well for the Cardinals in Sunday's Victory over the Vikings

The Cardinals showed room for growth, but they did a lot right in order to take down the Vikings.

"A win is a win."

The Cardinals left Sunday's 34-33 victory over Minnesota "to chance" as Vikings kicker Greg Joseph missed the game-winning field-goal attempt from 37 yards out. 

The sentiment from head coach Kliff Kingsbury and several players during postgame press conferences was that there was a lot to clean up from Sunday, but it felt good to walk away 2-0. 

"I understand it's not easy to win this league," quarterback Kyler Murray said. "So you kind of just have to take the good with the bad, you've got to go back to work next week."

While the Cardinals failed to put the Vikings away late, they did a lot well throughout the game. It was a bumpy effort, but in order to come away with the win, they had to step up during key moments.

End of the first half

Kingsbury mentioned that his team came out flat, but that the final few minutes of the second quarter were a turning point. 

The Cardinals scored 17 points in fewer than three minutes and 30 seconds to go into halftime up 24-23. 

It started with a mistake. 

Murray tried to find running back Chase Edmonds in the flat, but two Vikings ended up getting their hands on the ball. It tipped up to tight end Maxx Williams, who turned around and gained 34 yards. 

"We were real stagnant offensively, that got us going and I think woke us up a little bit," Kingsbury said.

Williams had a career-high 94 receiving yards. 

There was another fortunate break for the Cardinals during the drive before it ended with Murray scrambling into the end zone for six. 

Murray flipped the ball to wide receiver Rondale Moore on a sweep. Moore got stripped at the goal line, but Minnesota linebacker Nick Vigil did not establish possession in bounds. The original call was a fumble recovered by the defense, but that was reversed. 

The Cardinals got the ball back quickly after a Vikings three-and-out, and they scored again even more rapidly. 

On the first play of their next possession, Murray dodged the oncoming pass rush and rolled out to his left. He looked up and Moore was all alone 45 yards down the field. 

The defense accounted for Murray taking off, but no one stuck with Moore. 

The result: a 77-yard touchdown connection, ending the drive in 13 seconds. 

Arizona was not done, though. It got the ball back with 21 seconds after a Vikings field goal. 

The Cardinals plan was to give the ball to Moore in space. They did, twice, and he gained 22 yards to set up a 62-yard field-goal try. 

Matt Prater drilled the kick to cap off a game-altering stretch. 

Kyler Murray

Murray finished the game with 400 passing yards and three touchdowns, an All-Pro performance on many fronts. 

He ran away from pressure unlike any quarterback in the league on several plays leading to completions. His first touchdown pass was also on the run to DeAndre Hopkins in the first quarter. 

Not only did he get the ball to his target while on the run, but while he was moving fast. On the Moore touchdown catch, Murray was running 16.26 miles per hour, per NextGen Stats. 

Sunday was not perfect for Murray, as he did throw two interceptions. On one, he appeared to get hit, and he believed the outcome would have been much different had he not.

"It would have been a touchdown," Murray said.

Still, his passer rating was 117.9 at the end of the day.

"I think the game is really slowing down for him," Kingsbury said. "You see him doing stuff that he did at the collegiate level. He's very confident with his legs and moving around and making throws and extending plays."

Oh, and he also did this off of his back foot:

Second-half defense 

The Cardinals struggled mightily to stop Minnesota early on. Running back Dalvin Cook gained 96 yards before halftime, as the Vikings were pounding the ball up the middle with little resistance. 

Quarterback Kirk Cousins passed for 150 yards and three touchdowns. 

But, the Cardinals defense was a much more put together group in the second half, allowing just three points. The only score they allowed came after a special-teams blunder: a roughing the punter penalty. 

Cook had 35 rushing yards in the second half and Cousins threw for 94. 

Minnesota gained just two first downs and converted on two of seven third downs. 

"There's opportunities out there for us to really be a dominant team," linebacker Jordan Hicks said postgame. "A lot of it is execution. It felt, defensively, like we really settled in that second half."