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Game Preview: Cardinals at Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings (5-4) host the Arizona Cardinals (4-4-1) in Week 11 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Minnesota is searching for its first win since Week 5, while the Cardinals are 3-1-1 since Week 5. The Vikings are coming off a 26-20 loss at Washington, and Arizona is searching for back-to-back wins after defeating the 49ers, 23-20, in Week 10. Minnesota is powered by the NFL's top-ranked defense in points allowed, giving up 16.9 points per game, and an offensive unit that has committed a turnover in only two of nine games this season, helping the team tie for second in the NFL with a plus-12 turnover margin.

The Vikings defense, which ranks third in the NFL, allowing 308.8 yards per game, has 18 takeaways (10 interceptions, 8 fumble recoveries), fourth-most in the NFL. The Vikings defense has held opponents to a 74.6 passer rating, the third-best mark in the league.

WR Stefon Diggs, who ranks tied for third in the NFL with 61 receptions this season, has grabbed a career-high 13 passes in consecutive weeks, becoming the first player in NFL history to do so. QB Sam Bradford, who has started eight games since being acquired via trade from Philadelphia on Sept. 3, is sixth in the NFL with a 99.9 passer rating. Bradford has thrown 11 touchdowns and two interceptions on 197-of-283 passing (69.6 percent, third in NFL).

BROADCAST COVERAGE

NATIONAL TELEVISION: FOX; Play-by-Play: Joe Buck; Analyst: Troy Aikman; Sideline: Erin Andrews

NATIONAL RADIO: Sports USA; Play-by-Play: Larry Kahn; Analyst: John Robinson; Sideline: Troy West

LOCAL RADIO: KFAN-FM 100.3/KTLK-AM 1130

Play-by-Play: Paul Allen; Analyst: Pete Bercich; Sideline Reporters: Greg Coleman and Ben Leber

Pre-Game Show: Mike Mussman – 10 a.m. CT

KFAN and KTLK serve as the flagship stations for the 72-station, five-state Vikings Radio Network.

NORSEMAN NOTABLES

  • With 37 catches for 392 yards and five touchdowns through nine games, TE Kyle Rudolph moved into second for receptions in team history by a tight end with 219. Rudolph, who caught his 27th career touchdown in Week 10, is just one shy of matching Steve Jordan's Vikings team record for touchdowns by a TE with 28.
  • In eight starts in 2016, QB Sam Bradford has five games with a passer rating over 100, setting a new career high. Bradford had four such games in 2012 with St. Louis and four more in 2015 with Philadelphia. Bradford's five games with a 100 passer rating (min. 20 att.) is tied for fourth in the NFL.
  • Minnesota's six giveaways is the lowest total in team history through Week 10, and the Vikings have the best TO differential ( 12) in team history in the first 10 weeks.
  • Vikings DEs have combined for 15.0 sacks this season, the second highest total in the NFL, trailing only Seattle's DEs who have totaled 22.0 sacks in 2016.
  • WR Stefon Diggs, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Rudolph and WR Adam Thielen all have 30-plus catches and at least two touchdowns, making the Vikings one of three teams (Lions and Saints) in the NFL to have four players with 30-plus receptions and multiple TDs.
  • Diggs' 13 receptions vs. Detroit (11/6) and at Washington (11/13) is third in Vikings history in a single game behind WR Cris Carter's 14 receptions at Arizona (10/2/94) and RB Rickey Young's 15 receptions at New England (12/16/79).
  • Patterson has at least three catches in the Vikings past six games, the longest such streak of his career.
  • The Vikings have thrown two interceptions on 316 passing attempts (0.6 percent) in 2016, trailing only the Patriots who have thrown one interception on 249 passing attempts (0.4 percent). The Cowboys have also only thrown two interceptions on 282 attempts (0.7 percent) this season.

VIKINGS-CARDINALS CONNECTIONS

• Cardinals Asst. Head Coach/Offense Tom Moore coached for the Minnesota Vikings from 1990-93 as the Asst. Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, QBs coach and WRs coach. Moore served as the Offensive Coordinator for the Minnesota Gophers from 1972-73 and 1975-76. Moore hails from Owatonna, Minnesota.

• Cardinals CB coach Kevin Ross coached the Vikings secondary from 2003-05.

• Cardinals QB Carson Palmer and Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer were with the Cincinnati Bengals together from 2008-10.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

• Vikings COO Kevin Warren is a Tempe, Arizona, native and attended Grand Canyon University where he played basketball. Warren earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Grand Canyon University before earning his MBA from Arizona State. Warren was inducted into the Grand Canyon University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.

• Arizona Cardinals Executive VP/COO Ron Minegar earned his master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota.

• Vikings Executive Director of Player Development/Legal Les Pico is a native of Mesa, Arizona, and attended Scottsdale CC where he was a decorated QB and team MVP. Pico later attended Arizona State where he received his bachelor's in criminal justice.

• Cardinals Asst. Special Teams/Asst. TEs coach Steve Heiden is from Rushford, Minnesota, and attended college at South Dakota State University. Heiden began his coaching career at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2012 after an 11-year career in the NFL.

• Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald was a two-time All-State and prep All-America WR at Academy of the Holy Angels High School in his hometown, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fitzgerald also served as a ball boy at Vikings games as a youth.

• Cardinals WR Michael Floyd is from St. Paul, Minnesota. He attended Cretin-Derhman Hall where he was selected to the Vikings All-State Team as a junior and senior. He was also twice named Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year.

• Vikings Asst. Special Teams Coordinator Ryan Ficken played WR at Arizona State University from 1998-99.

• Vikings DE Everson Griffen attended Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Arizona, where he was named Super Prep and Scout.com Player of the Year in Arizona and Gatorade Circle of Champions Player of the Year for Arizona.

• Vikings P Jeff Locke played WR, K and P at Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Arizona, where ESPN.com ranked him the No. 1 kicker coming out of high school. He was selected All-Arizona and First-Team All-State.

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS

• Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd played for Florida with Cardinals T D.J. Humphries in 2012.

• Vikings DE Danielle Hunter and Cardinals ILB Kevin Minter were teammates at LSU in 2012.

• Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (2008-10), Vikings S Harrison Smith (2007-11), Cardinals WR Michael Floyd (2008-11) and Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (2011-13), who is currently on IR, all played at Notre Dame.

VIKINGS BIG DAYS VS. CARDINALS

  • TE Rhett Ellison caught his career-long pass at Arizona (12/10/15) last season when he took a Teddy Bridgewater screen pass 41 yards.
  • DE Brian Robison has 5.5 sacks in the last 3 games vs. Arizona. On 10/9/11, Robison recorded 2.0 sacks and in a Week 7 matchup on 10/21/12, Robison set a career-high with 3.5 sacks.
  • CB Terence Newman corralled his 1st career sack during his rookie season vs. Arizona (10/5/03) as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Last season at Arizona (12/10/15), Newman made his first career start at S after the Vikings secondary was depleted with injuries. 
  • As a rookie in 2012, S Harrison Smith recorded his first career interception and his first career touchdown vs. Arizona after picking off a pass and returning in 31 yards for a score.
  • DE Everson Griffen recorded one of his 10.5 sacks in 2015 at Arizona (12/10/15), his first game playing in his home state of Arizona as a pro.
  • DE Danielle Hunter corralled one of his 11 career sacks at Arizona (12/10/15) during last season's matchup.
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