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5 Vikings-Cardinals Storylines to Follow

A pair of four-loss teams will meet at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday as the Vikings and Arizona Cardinals look to improve their standing in the NFC with the season now in its second half. The 5-4 Vikings haven't won since Week 5 while the 4-4-1 Cardinals have lost just once (3-1-1) in that same span. The Vikings enter the game off a 26-20 loss and the Cardinals are looking for a second consecutive win after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 23-20 last week.

Here are five storylines to watch in the buildup to Vikings vs. Cardinals on Sunday…

1. Dual threat David Johnson will be Cardinals top option versus stifling Vikings defense

The Vikings defense ranks No. 1 in the NFL in points allowed at 16.9 and No. 3 in yards allowed at 308.8. The latest threat to put a dent in those rankings may be the most versatile one the Vikings defense has seen yet. David Johnson is the NFL's fourth-leading rusher with 760 yards and he's also tied for the League lead in rushing touchdowns with nine. He can catch the ball, too, as he's the Cardinals second-leading receiver with 40 receptions and 453 receiving yards. Johnson's 12 plays of 20 yards already this season demonstrate that he can strike from anywhere on the field. He'll be the top priority this week for a Vikings defense that has fared well versus the opponent's top weapon through nine games this season.

2. Red-hot Stefon Diggs looks to scorch another opponent

Speaking of top weapons, no receiver has been hotter than Stefon Diggs the past two weeks. He caught 13 passes against the Redskins last Sunday, making him the first receiver in NFL history to record back-to-back games with 13 catches. While the past two games indicates the Cardinals have their work cut out for them going against Diggs, it should also be noted that top CB Patrick Peterson and his secondary mates combined to hold Diggs to only two catches in a Week 14 contest last season.

3. Vikings defensive starters are on the mend

The injuries that have ravaged the Vikings offensive line have been well documented, with yet another starter (Jake Long) going to the Reserve/Injured list this week. Lately, though, it's the defense that has taken on some injury concerns. Last week in Washington, LBs Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks collided in the 1st quarter and both players were forced to leave the game. They both returned, but Kendricks was eventually forced from the game again and did not return. CB Xavier Rhodes also left the game to be evaluated for a concussion. It won't be a surprise to see all three of these defenders plus a few more on the injury report this week.

4. Vikings make a change at kicker

Earlier in the week the Vikings decided to make a change at kicker, releasing Blair Walsh following a game in which he missed his fourth point after touchdown attempt of the season. The Vikings considered making this move last week when, following the loss to Detroit in which Walsh had a field goal attempt blocked and missed another extra point, the team worked out several kickers. As of Wednesday morning, the Vikings hadn't announced who they would sign to replace Walsh.

5. Larry Fitzgerald, Jr.'s Minnesota homecoming

The Cardinals may be the away team on Sunday, but one of their best players will be right at home. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. is a native of Minneapolis and was a two-time All-State and prep All-America receiver at the Academy of the Holy Angels. He went on to star at the University of Pittsburgh before coming one of the best receivers in League during his career. At age 33, Fitzgerald has 68 catches already on the season and is showing no signs of slowing down. Another Cardinals receiver is coming home this weekend, too – Cretin-Derham Hall product and St. Paul native Michael Floyd

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