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The Skinny Post: Vikings Return Home Against Arizona

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings are riding a wave of momentum after an up-and-down start to the season.

Minnesota is coming off a thrilling and emotional 23-21 win against the Eagles, a victory that came on the road in the same stadium where the Vikings lost in the 2017 NFC Championship Game.

The Vikings now stand at 2-2-1 entering a Week 6 home matchup against Arizona.

The Cardinals are 1-4 after notching their first win of the season in Week 5 against the 49ers.

The Vikings have won the four of the past five matchups against Arizona, with each victory coming in Minnesota.

Here are three areas to watch in Sunday's contest, plus some noteworthy stats on both teams:

Remember Buffalo | By @Eric_L_Smith

The last time the Vikings played at home, they were favored against a team with a losing record and a rookie quarterback named Josh.

The Week 3 matchup didn't work out so well for Minnesota, as the Bills and quarterback Josh Allen walked out of U.S. Bank Stadium with a 27-6 win.

The Vikings coughed up fumbles on their first two possessions against Buffalo, allowing the Bills to race out to a 17-0 cushion before many fans were in their seats.

Now, the one-win Cardinals and rookie quarterback Josh Rosen roll into town to square off against the Vikings.

Has Minnesota learned a lesson from earlier this season?

"Every game, if you don't bring your best, then you're going to get beat," said Vikings safety Harrison Smith. "That's how it is in this league. Every week, I guess you could consider a gut check."

If the Vikings want to make a run at a playoff spot and compete for another NFC North title, they'd be wise to not slip up Sunday against Arizona.

Preparing for Patrick Peterson | By @LindseyMNSports

There's only one Patrick Peterson to go around.

Will the seven-time Pro Bowl Cardinals cornerback be the biggest challenge that the Vikings have faced in an opponent's secondary this season?

It's hard to say definitively, but one thing is certain – Peterson is an experienced, talented corner who hasn't missed a Pro Bowl nod since Arizona drafted him in 2011.

The last time the Vikings faced the Cardinals was in 2016, and Peterson shadowed Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs throughout the game. This time, however, it will be interesting to see which half of Minnesota's receiver duo Peterson will focus on, Diggs or Adam Thielen. The latter is entering Sunday's game having racked up 100-plus receiving yards in each of the Vikings first five games. Diggs also is continuing to perform, however, having 37 catches for 402 yards and three touchdowns through the air.

Will Peterson continue to follow Diggs, or will Thielen present an equal or bigger threat for Arizona? The Cardinals ultimately will have to choose which receiver to give more protection to … and it likely won't be an easy decision.

Is less more? | By @pcraigers

After a disappointing night for the Vikings defense on short rest against the Rams in Los Angeles, Head Coach Mike Zimmer mentioned "overcoaching" could be part of the problem.

The Vikings defense bounced back against the Eagles last week, particularly in key situations. Minnesota limited Philadelphia to 2-for-9 on third downs and 2-for-5 in the red zone.

The defense recovered two fumbles after nabbing just one of nine by their first four opponents and was especially stingy in the first half, when the Eagles netted just 91 yards of offense.

The Vikings have elite talent at all levels of the defense and are at their best when they are playing fast.

While we don't know the full game plan or conversations that Zimmer had with his defensive staff, it seemed that the group played freely but within the scheme of the defense in Philadelphia.

Substantial Stats

— Vikings wide receivers Adam Thielen (47) and Stefon Diggs (37) have 84 combined catches in 2018. They join Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown (35) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (35) as the only wide receivers duo in the league to each rank in the top 10 in receptions.

— Cardinals running back David Johnson has 37 career combined touchdowns (rushing and receiving) with 3,608 total yards in just 38 career games.

— The last time the Vikings played the Cardinals, cornerback Xavier Rhodes had a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown. Vikings safety Harrison Smith's first career interception came in 2012 against Arizona. He returned the pick 31 yards for a touchdown.

— Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins ranks in the top 10 in three major passing categories — completion percentage (71.2 percent), passing yards (1,688) and touchdown passes (11). Drew Brees, Jared Goff and Matt Ryan are also in that group.

Quotable

"We're excited to get back home this week, been on the road for a couple weeks so it will be nice to get back to U.S. Bank Stadium in front of our home fans. We need to play well to beat this team." — Zimmer on returning to U.S. Bank Stadium.

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