The Vikings are looking for their second consecutive win of the season and another NFC victory on Sunday as they host the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. Here are five Vikings-Cardinals storylines to watch in the buildup to this week’s game.
1. Same story, but Vikings looking for different ending
The Vikings are double-digit favorites at home against a rookie quarterback. Sound familiar? It’s the same scenario the Vikings faced in Week 3 when they hosted the Josh Allen-led Buffalo Bills at U.S. Bank Stadium at 17.5-point favorites. The Vikings will be looking for a different ending to the story this time. With the Bills game as a learning experience and last week’s Eagles win as a confidence booster, expect a premium effort from the Vikings as they return home following back-to-back weeks on the road.
2. Will Dalvin Cook, Riley Reiff play?
Head coach Mike Zimmer doesn’t like talking about injuries, but he’ll be asked about two of his offensive starters this week with running back Dalvin Cook having missed the last six quarters of action because of a hamstring and with left tackle Riley Reiff leaving in the first half last week. If Cook can’t go, it’ll be a lot of Latavius Murray once again as Mike Boone, CJ Ham and Roc Thomas provide depth. If Reiff can’t go, it’s likely that Rashod Hill will slide over right tackle to play on the left side and rookie Brian O’Neill will step into Hill’s spot. Hill and O’Neill battled admirably last week in Philadelphia under tough conditions so there’s no doubt the offense can move forward without skipping a beat should Reiff be unable play.
3. Danielle Hunter, Adam Thielen go for six in a row
Danielle Hunter and Adam Thielen are on fire and they’ll look to stay hot on Sunday against Arizona. Thielen became the first player in the Super Bowl era to record at least 100 receiving yards in each of the first five games of a season. His 47 receptions lead the League and is the most receptions in NFL history through the first five weeks of a season. Hunter is the only NFL player to record a sack in each of the first five weeks of the 2018 season and the five-game sack streak is the longest of his career. Both Hunter and Thielen look to extend their respective streaks to six this week.
4. Defense looks to get its groove back
“What happened to the defense?” was replaced by “There’s the defense!” as the descriptor phrase surrounding the Vikings following the team’s win over the Eagles last week. The win featured a dominant performance by the Vikings defense in the first half. While the Eagles mounted a valiant comeback attempt in the second half, the Vikings defense was good enough in the first half and made enough plays in the second half to help get the win. A second consecutive impressive outing this week against the Cardinals will go a long way for a defense looking to regain its place among the NFL’s elite and, more importantly, be a contributing component to another win.
5. Cover 2: Peterson poised to challenge Diggs, Thielen
You won’t find more competitive or confident receivers than Stefon Diggs and Thielen, and you won’t find a better cornerback than Arizona’s Patrick Peterson. While Peterson can’t guard both receivers at the same time, there’s a good chance he’ll be shadowing one of the two on every snap. Football junkies are getting a treat this week as they get to watch the NFL’s best go at one another on every snap.