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The Skinny Post: Vikings Return Home Looking For Win

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings return home for Sunday's noon (CT) matchup against the Arizona Cardinals looking to snap a four-game losing streak. 

Minnesota is now 5-4 after falling to Washington last week. The Vikings are 3-1 at U.S. Bank Stadium this season. 

Sunday's game could be a **low-scoring defensive battle** as the Vikings give up the fewest points per game (16.9) while Arizona is tied for third at 17.8.

The Cardinals are 4-4-1 and are coming off a 23-20 win over San Francisco last week. Both teams won their respective divisions in 2015.

On the airwaves: The game will be broadcast nationally by FOX (KMSP FOX 9 in the Twin Cities). Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Erin Andrews will be on the call. There is also a national radio broadcast on Sports USA by Larry Kahn, John Robinson and Troy West. The game also will be broadcast on KFAN 100.3-FM and across the Minnesota Vikings Radio Network by the team of Paul Allen, Pete Bercich, Greg Coleman and Ben Leber.

Three things to watch:

Getting back on trackEric Smith

Minnesota's defense ranks near the top of the league in numerous statistical categories, but it's likely the Vikings aren't entirely happy with their play of late.

After holding their first five opponents to fewer than 20 points each, the Vikings have allowed at least 20 points in each of the past four games. Part of that has to do with an inability to get off the field on third down, as each of Minnesota's last three opponents have converted 50 percent of third-down tries.

The Vikings will face a stern test in Arizona, a team with a bevy of playmakers including dual-threat running back David Johnson, who is second in the NFL with 1,213 total yards. The Cardinals have converted 43 percent (55 of 128) of their third downs this season. 

Minnesota could also benefit from sacks and turnovers. The Vikings have just 3.0 sacks in the past four games.

Kicking with KaiLindsey Young

Sunday marks kicker Kai Forbath's first game with Minnesota. The Vikings waived Blair Walsh Tuesday and on Wednesday signed Forbath, who last played with the New Orleans Saints in 2015. Over a four-year career, Forbath has made 69 of 82 attempted field goals.

Although Forbath was new to the locker room this week, he is quite familiar with his specialist teammates Jeff Locke and Kevin McDermott, who were teammates with Forbath at UCLA, and the three continue to train together at their alma mater during the offseason.

It will be interesting to see how Forbath does during his first game in purple. Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer said Thursday that Forbath is an accurate kicker, and he may get his chance to demonstrate in front of a home crowd Sunday.

"He's always had a very smooth approach. He's under control," Priefer said. "He may not have the strongest leg on kickoffs, but he's an effective kickoff guy as well. I thought because of his workout, because of his experience level I thought he was the best option for us."

Stout Challenge Awaits O-LineCraig Peters

The Vikings offensive line has encountered tough situations throughout the season, and Sunday will be no different.

Minnesota has used five combinations of starting offensive linemen and played 10 total linemen through its first nine games of 2016. The Vikings will face an active front that can create pressured throws and

Arizona traded for Chandler Jones in March, and the former Patriot has made quite an impact in the desert. Jones has nine tackles for loss, a team-high 7.0 sacks (tied for fourth in NFL), two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, nine quarterback pressures and a team-high 17 quarterback hits.

Since 2013, Jones' second season in the NFL, he has totaled 37 sacks, which is fifth in that time span.

Markus Golden opened the season with a sack in five straight games. He is tied for ninth in the NFL with 6.0 sacks on the season.

The ability to create pressure isn't only on the edge. Nine-year veteran defensive tackle Calais Campbell has 51.5 career sacks (third in franchise history) in 131 games with the Cardinals. The 6-foot-8, 300-pounder also has blocked six field goals in his career.

Substantial Stats

— Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford has completed 197 of 283 attempts for a career-high completion percentage of 69.6 so far this season.

—Cardinals running back David Johnson has 435 receiving yards this season, the most in the NFL by a running back. It's also the same number as Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen.

— Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs has 13 catches in each of his past two games, becoming the first player in NFL history to have 13 receptions in back-to-back games.

— Arizona's defense ranks first in the NFL by allowing 4.69 yards per play. The Vikings are fourth in the league at 4.94.


"This is what the NFL is, it's not one of those for the faint of hearts. You've got to fight for 16 weeks. You've got to grind. You've got to keep going. The weak-minded typically don't make it very far. We're going to continue to stay strong-minded." — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer on his team's mentality


*Worth a watch

This week's edition of ’96 Questions’ featured Vikings players getting a laugh out of teammate Brian Robison's various hair styles he wore as a kid.

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