If anyone would have told me that the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals would both be entering their week seven match up with 4-2 records at the beginning of the season I would have told them to go get their head examined, but they both have had tremendous starts to the year and both are also coming in looking to get back on the winning track following tough losses last week. Last week the Vikings lost to the Washington Redskins 38-26 while the Cardinals fell to the Buffalo Bills 19-16 in overtime; now both teams are looking to improve to 5-2 but only one will do so when it’s all said and done.
The Vikings come into the game looking very sound on the defensive side of the ball ranked eighth in yards allowed per game (313.7 yards), 11th in passing yards allowed per game (217.7 yards), 10th in rushing yards allowed per game (96 yards) and tied for ninth in points allowed per game (19.5). This could mean plenty of problems for the Cardinals offense who not only aren’t too good, ranked 31st in yards gained per game (283 yards), 28th in passing yards gained per game (199.8 yards), 27th in rushing yards gained per game (83.2 yards) and tied for 26th in points scored per game (18.3 points) and are also dealing with a number of injuries.
Starting quarterback Kevin Kolb has a significant injury to his ribs and will be out for about two months and the top two running backs on their depth chart at the beginning of the year (Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams) are both out. This means that the Cards are going to have to rely on John Skelton behind center (last week in limited action he completed just 2 of 10 attempts for 45 yards and an interception) and William Powell at running back (16 carries for 79 yards this season). Skelton was the starting quarterback entering the season but he went down with an injury early on during the year and looked very rusty last week. The Cards main problem on offense is their line and quarterback protection, thus far they have allowed their signal callers to be sacked a league worst 28 times. Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen (4 sacks this season) and the rest of the Vikings pas rush are probably licking the chops in anticipation of getting to Skelton as many times as possible on Sunday.
The Cardinals defense is also a very good one ranking 10th in the league in both total yards allowed per game (329.3 yards) and passing yards allowed per game (216 yards) and fourth in points allowed per game (16.2 points). The one place where their defense is a little weak is against the run, allowing 113.3 rushing yards per game (19th in NFL) and that could be a major problem for them seeing as how that is the Vikings strong suit on offense averaging 126.7 rushing yards per game (8th in NFL). Adrian Peterson has rushed for 499 yards and two touchdowns on 113 carries this season and should get the ball plenty against this Arizona defense that has had problems versus the run. Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder has put together a solid second season so far passing for 1,434 yards and 8 touchdowns while completing 68.6% of his attempts and just tossing four interceptions. If he can go out there and continue to play solid for the Vikes then there shouldn’t be any reason why they lose this one at home. Speedy wideout Percy Harvin (49 receptions for 540 yards and a TD) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (25 receptions for 225 yards and 5 TD) have proven to be Ponder’s favorite targets this year.
Even though the Cardinals have a very good defensive they are weakest on the side of the ball where the Vikings are their strongest on offense and not too mention they have too many injury issues right now, so I’ll take Minnesota in this one 27-13, behind a huge day from Adrian Peterson.