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Early Look: Vikings Making 1st Trip to Cardinals Since 2015

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings are on the road again for the second consecutive week to open the 2021 season.

Minnesota (0-1) will venture to face the Cardinals (1-0) for the first time in Arizona since 2015.

The Vikings lost 27-24 in overtime Sunday to the Bengals in Cincinnati. The Cardinals topped the Titans 38-13 with an impressive performance at Tennessee.

Here's an Early Look at the Vikings Week 2 matchup against the Cardinals, presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Official LASIK partner of the Minnesota Vikings.

Click here to download the game preview release by the Vikings public relations department.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Cardinals.


The Vikings were the only team to have three receivers record 70 or more yards in Week 1. Adam Thielen (92 yards), K.J. Osborn (76) and Justin Jefferson (71) combined to gain 239 of Minnesota's 336 net passing yards.


Thielen became the eighth player with 400 or more receptions with the Vikings. He moved past Ahmad Rashad for seventh place all-time and enters Sunday's game with 406 catches. Jake Reed ranks sixth in franchise history with 413. Thielen also caught the 40th and 41st touchdowns of his career. He has now caught two scores in each of the past two season openers.

Jefferson became the first Vikings receiver to complete a pass since Sidney Rice against Oakland on Nov. 18, 2007. The 11-yard toss was secured by Osborn.

Kirk Cousins started his 48th game with the Vikings, which is tied with Wade Wilson for fourth in team history by a quarterback. He is the first Vikings QB to start four consecutive season openers since Daunte Culpepper (2002-05).

Michael Pierce recorded a career-best 2.0 sacks in his Vikings debut. The 340-pound nose tackle totaled 3.5 sacks in four seasons with the Ravens (2016-19). He was excited to officially begin his tenure in Minnesota after opting out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns.

Nick Vigil also impressed in his Vikings debut, becoming the only player in the NFL to record at least 10 tackles and 2.0 tackles for loss during Week 1. Vigil recorded one of Minnesota's five sacks on the day against the team that drafted him in 2016.

After Vigil recorded Minnesota's first sack of 2021, Harrison Smith notched the second. The safety extended his franchise record for sacks by a defensive back to 14.5.


Head Coach: Kliff Kingsbury (14-18-1 in third season with Cardinals)

QB Kyler Murray accounted for five total touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) in Week 1. The 2019 No. 1 overall pick perplexed the Titans with his ability to extend plays and improvise.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, a former first-round pick of Houston, tied his career best for receptions in a season with 115 in 2020. Hopkins totaled 1,407 yards and six touchdowns during his first season with Arizona and picked up where he left off. Hopkins caught six passes for 83 yards and two scores against Tennessee.

According to Next Gen Stats: The Cardinals used 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends and two receivers) on 24 plays against the Titans. Arizona used 11 (one RB, one TE, three WRs) on 20 plays and scored three of its five touchdowns from that grouping.

Fellow Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green caught two passes for 25 yards in his Cardinals debut, which was also Arizona's first game without 11-time Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald on the roster since the Minneapolis native joined the team as the third overall pick of the 2004 NFL Draft.

DE Chandler Jones recorded five sacks against Tennessee. They were the 98th, 99th, 100th, 101st and 102nd of his career. The former first-round pick of New England has 66 since joining Arizona in 2016, the second-most in the NFL in that span.

Jones has been joined this offseason by former Houston first-rounder J.J. Watt, who has 101 career sacks and is aiming for his first with Arizona.



Vikings CB Patrick Peterson, who made his Vikings debut last week, was drafted by Arizona in 2011. Peterson garnered eight trips to the Pro Bowl over the course of his 10 seasons with the Cardinals.

Minnesota C Mason Cole was drafted by Arizona in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Cole was acquired this offseason by the Vikings in exchange for a sixth-round pick.

Cardinals WR Josh Doctson (practice squad) played in one game for Minnesota in 2019.


Vikings DE Everson Griffen (Avondale) and practice squad G Kyle Hinton (Peoria) are from Arizona.

Cardinals TE Maxx Williams (Waconia) and practice squad TE Ross Travis (Chaska) are from Minnesota.


Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins and CB Bashaud Breeland with Arizona QB Colt McCoy and practice squad WR Josh Doctson at Washington

Vikings P Jordan Berry and Cardinals RB James Conner with the Steelers

Minnesota DT Dalvin Tomlinson and LB Ryan Connelly with Arizona LB Markus Golden with the New York Giants in 2019; Tomlinson and Cardinals G Justin Pugh with the Giants in 2017

Vikings LS Andrew DePaola and Cardinals C Rodney Hudson with the Raiders

Minnesota LB Nick Vigil and CB Mackensie Alexander with Arizona WR A.J. Green

Vikings RB Ameer Abdullah (practice squad) at the Lions with Cardinals K Matt Prater, LB Devon Kennard and S Charles Washington

Minnesota G Dakota Dozier (practice squad) and Cardinals OL Kelvin Beachum at the Jets


Tomlinson and Vikings TE Irv Smith, Jr. (Injured Reserve) with Cardinals S Deionte Thompson at Alabama

Vikings RB Alexander Mattison and G Ezra Cleveland with Cardinals LB Tanner Vallejo at Boise State

Minnesota TE Tyler Conklin and Arizona RB Jonathan Ward at Central Michigan

Breeland and Alexander at Clemson with Hopkins at Clemson

Vikings WR Justin Jefferson and Cardinals DL Rashard Lawrence at LSU

Minnesota DT Sheldon Richardson and Golden at Missouri

Vikings T Brian O'Neill and Conner at Pittsburgh



Kirk Cousins: 4 games (1-3 with Washington, 1-0 with Minnesota); 87-of-135 passing, 64.4 completion percentage, 1,054 passing yards, 6 TDs, 87.7 passer rating

Adam Thielen: 3 games; 17 receptions for 195 yards and 2 TDs on 19 targets


Harrison Smith: 3 games; 23 tackles (18 solo); 2.0 sacks, 1 INT; 31-yard interception return TD

Danielle Hunter: 3 games, 10 tackles (7 solo), 5.0 sacks


Kirk Cousins: 24-of-34 passing for 233 yards with 1 TD for a passer rating of 87.0 on Oct. 14, 2018

Adam Thielen: 11 receptions for 123 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown, on Oct. 14, 2018

Harrison Smith: 6 tackles and a 31-yard interception return TD (the first of his career) on Oct. 21, 2012

Danielle Hunter: 5 tackles, including 2.0 sacks, in Minnesota on Oct. 14, 2018


1. The Vikings hold a 17-11 edge in series history, which includes a 2-0 mark in playoff games (victories after the 1974 and 1998 seasons).

2. The series began in 1963 when the visiting Cardinals were located in St. Louis and defeated the Vikings 56-14. Minnesota has played eight times (4-4) in Arizona, where the franchise that originally began in Chicago moved in 1988. Although it doesn't count in the standings, the Vikings and Cardinals participated in the first NFL game in London. The preseason contest occurred at Wembley Stadium on Aug. 6, 1983.

3. Xavier Rhodes notched the longest interception return in franchise history — a 100-yard touchdown — in a 30-24 win over the Cardinals on Nov. 20, 2016.

Longest Vikings winning streak in series: Five games (Nov. 12, 1995 through Nov. 12, 2000)

Longest Vikings losing streak in series: Four games (Nov. 6, 1977 through Oct. 30, 1983)