MINNEAPOLIS: The Minnesota Vikings now possess the winning instinct that eluded them so frequently the previous season. Arizona Cardinals can attest to it without a doubt. The Vikings defeated the Cardinals 34-26 on Sunday to earn their fifth straight victory. Thanks to Za’Darius Smith’s three sacks, which helped a motivated defense hold off Kyler Murray.
Kirk Cousins tossed for two touchdowns and ran for another. And Dalvin Cook carried for a season-high 111 yards and a score to help the Minnesota Vikings (6-1) maintain their unblemished home record.
Last year, I thought we had a tremendously strong football team. In a lot of games, we just couldn’t find the inches. I’m not sure why we discovered them now, Cousins added.
Murray threw two second-half interceptions that proved costly for the Arizona Cardinals despite passing for 326 yards. And a season-high three touchdowns, including a one-handed catch for a score by DeAndre Hopkins with 47 seconds left in the second quarter (3-5).
Last year, Murray threw three touchdown passes and two picks in a thrilling 34-33 victory in Arizona. Last year, the Minnesota Vikings dropped eight contests by eight points or fewer. They have won all five of their games during the streak by less than that margin. It’s a pleasant feeling. I just wish people would talk more about us, but it’s fine,” Smith remarked. “We’ll keep being the underdogs.
Rondale Moore had seven receptions for 92 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown. Hopkins had 12 catches for 159 yards in his second game back from a suspension. And Murray’s quickness kept the Vikings’ active defense honest the whole game.
Early in the third quarter, Murray’s touchdown pass to Zach Ertz gave the Arizona Cardinals a 17-14 lead. But the advantage only lasted 3:26.
Alexander Mattison ran for a score as the Minnesota Vikings made a U-turn. After Murray’s risky throw from his own end zone was intercepted by Harrison Smith due to pressure. They went 31 yards in four plays for a touchdown.
While Smith was still making his return, Patrick Peterson, who had been yelling at his former team throughout the game, turned toward the Arizona Cardinals bench and began dancing out of sheer excitement. It’s ingrained in us. The time when we can go take the ball away is just around the corner, said Peterson, who has intercepted three passes.
On third-and-2 from the 5, Cousins connected with K.J. Osborn for a 34-26 lead that Greg Joseph was unable to extend when his extra point missed the upright. That touchdown was set up by a mishandled punt return by Greg Dortch at his 25.
Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt said, We just smashed ourselves, just did too many things that we can’t do. When up against a strong football team, they will win. The Cardinals crossed midfield on each of their last three possessions throughout the last half of the fourth quarter while down by one point — and never went closer than the 37.
Camryn Bynum intercepted Murray’s ball for Ertz because it was well behind the target. With 2:39 remaining, former Cardinals linebacker Jordan Hicks slowed down Eno Benjamin by dragging him down just short of the goal line on a fourth-and-4 situation.
Finally, with 10 seconds left in the game and the Cardinals out of timeouts on their final drive, Za’Darius Smith sacked Murray at the Cardinals’ 44-yard line, and Harrison Phillips took him down for a significant loss on the game’s final play.
We are close by. Hopkins added It’s not like we’re getting blown out. We had a chance to win today against one of the top NFL clubs. You just have to keep working your way up, Cousins advised. The distinction between 6-1 and 1-6 is rather small.
At U.S. Bank Stadium, Joseph has missed five consecutive field goals. On the last play of the first half, his 56-yard attempt was so low that it struck Cardinals nose tackle Leki Fotu in the facemask.
A HIGH RIDE
At halftime, Jared Allen entered the field on a black horse for his induction into the club’s Ring of Honor. He was wearing a cowboy hat. Fans were given a fake mullet on a headband as a tribute to Allen. A defensive end who was a three-time All-Pro during his six seasons with the Vikings from 2008 to 2013. Smith and Watt each used a different sack to pay homage to Allen’s calf-roping celebration.
Report of Injury
Cardinals: Due to injuries, five starters were sidelined: LG RB James Conner (ribs), OLB Dennis Gardeck (ankle), LT D.J. Humphries (back), OLB Max Garcia (shoulder), and C Rodney Hudson are all injured (knee).
Bears: DE In the third quarter, Dalvin Tomlinson (calf) left the game. Smith (knee) left the field twice for treatment of aggravation but came back each time.
Cardinals: The first of three consecutive home games against NFC West opponents will be against Seattle on Sunday. Next Sunday, the Vikings go to Washington. Where Kirk Cousins will make his first journey since moving to Minnesota in 2018 to take against his former team.
Read More About: South Africa defeats India at the T20 World Cup thanks to David Miller and Aiden Markram.