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5 Takeaways: Vikings Fall Short in Wild West Shootout

GLENDALE, Ariz. — This one was a shootout in the desert of the Wild West.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, a missed field goal on the final play of the game was the turning point.

Minnesota did all it could down the stretch, but fell 34-33 in a chaotic game that featured almost everything.

The Vikings trailed by a point with two minutes left but drove into field goal range before Greg Joseph pushed a 37-yard try wide to the right.

The high-octane Week 2 tilt featured 893 combined yards of offense, with eight different players finding the end zone.

That included Vikings linebacker Nick Vigil, who returned an interception 38 yards early in the third quarter for his first-career score.

Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook helped carry Minnesota's offense. Cook ran for 131 yards on 22 carries, with Cousins throwing a trio of touchdown passes in the opening half.

The first was a 64-yarder to K.J. Osborn on the second play of the game. It was Osborn's first-career score. Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson also caught touchdowns in the opening 30 minutes. (Thielen, by the way, has 17 touchdown catches in his past 17 regular season games.)

Defensively, Xavier Woods added an interception to go along with Vigil's pick-six.

But it wasn't enough as Minnesota's defense allowed 474 total yards to Arizona.

The Vikings are now 0-2 for the second straight season under Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer.

Minnesota has its home opener in Week 3 against Seattle. Kickoff is at 3:25 p.m. (CT).

Here are four other takeaways from Minnesota's loss in Arizona:

1. A wacky turn of events

In a game that seemingly had it all, it was tough to explain the final few minutes of the first half, which featured a wacky sequence of events … almost none of which went Minnesota's way.

First, the Cardinals gained 31 yards on a tipped pass that landed right in the hands of tight end Maxx Williams. The Minnesota native corralled a ball that was hit at the line of scrimmage by Dalvin Tomlinson before bouncing off Eric Kendricks.

Then, things got real weird.

Arizona appeared to score on a 5-yard run, but Rondale Moore actually fumbled on the play. Bashaud Breeland jarred it loose right to Vigil, who caught it before going out of bounds.

But the turnover was overturned after review because Vigil didn't get both feet down. A holding call on the play backed the Cardinals up to the 12-yard line. Kyler Murray ran for a score to cut the Vikings lead to six.

Minnesota then went three-and-out before the Cardinals struck again, this time on a 77-yard touchdown pass from Murray to Moore.

The Vikings, now down 21 to 20, drove for an impressive 52-yard field goal by Greg Joseph.

Yet with Arizona starting at its own 34 after a squib kick, the Cardinals were still able to score at the halftime buzzer on a 62-yard field goal from Matt Prater.

Arizona scored 10 points in the final two minutes of the half, and the Vikings have now allowed 24 total points in that timeframe through the first two weeks on the season.

2. Few answers for Murray

Zimmer described Murray as "unorthodox" and "unique" earlier this week, and the Vikings saw it firsthand Sunday.

The 2019 No. 1 overall pick dazzled all over the field, using both his legs and his arm to put up yards in bunches.

Danielle Hunter had a monster day, recording all three of Minnesota's sacks on the day.

And it wasn't as if the Vikings didn't create pressure on Murray throughout the game. Murray just managed to escape almost all of it.

He did so on Arizona's first score — a 15-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins — in which the quarterback made a full circle turn in the pocket before firing a dart.

Murray has now thrown for and run for a score in 12 games.

Murray also scooted away from Vikings defenders on multiple occasions, including when he uncorked the 77-yard score to Moore with Hunter, Stephen Weatherly and Eric Kendricks all in the vicinity.

3. Special teams plays a role

As usual, the third phase of the game played a key role in Sunday's outcome, including on the final play of the game.

Joseph had an up-and-down day, which included a missed extra point after the Vikings third score. That blunder obviously loomed large during the back-and-forth affair.

He rebounded with a pair of 50-plus yard field goals, both from 52 yards out. But his final attempt sailed to the right, sending the home crowd at State Farm Stadium into a frenzy.

Joseph's first make came at the end of the first half. His second came after a Vikings drive was kept alive by a personal foul call on the Cardinals for roughing punter Jordan Berry.

Dede Westbrook made a poor decision to return a deep punt early in the fourth quarter.

Westbrook fielded the ball at the 6 and eventually lost 4 yards, putting the offense in a precarious spot.

The Vikings, backed up against a raucous Cardinals crowd, were called for a false start before the first snap and eventually went three-and-out.

Berry helped flip the field with a booming 60-yard punt, but the Cardinals took the lead on the ensuing drive.

And his final punt went just 39 yards, giving Arizona the ball at its own 39-yard with just under three minutes to go.

4. A lack of offensive success on 3rd down

The Vikings did themselves a favor in Week 2, mostly cleaning up the penalties and miscues that caused them to get into third-and-long situations against the Bengals.

But the offensive success couldn't be found on third downs as the Vikings converted on just two of 10 tries against Arizona.

They averaged third-and-5.2 yards on each try, a vast improvement from a week ago.

But the Vikings missed out on third-and-2 and third-and-1 chances in the opening half, and then couldn't move the chains in the final two quarters, either.

Minnesota converted its final try on third-and-10 with a 12-yard completion to Thielen, but it was all for naught as Joseph missed the game-winner minutes later.