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What'd They Say: Cardinals Talk About Vikings

The Vikings recent losses haven't fooled the Cardinals into thinking that Minnesota's defense isn't a force to be reckoned with.

"Teams take on the personality of their coach, and Zim' is as tough as they get," Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians said in a conference call Wednesday about Minnesota and Head Coach Mike Zimmer. "They're extremely sound."

Arians said offenses will key in on certain weaknesses a defense has and look to exploit those specific things in a game, but he doesn't see weaknesses in Minnesota's armor. Arians believes the Vikings have a talented defense across the board.

"You've got to beat your guy, and they've got really good players, starting up front, and they've got a good back end," Arians said. "It's a man-on-man type of game." 

Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, a Minnesota native, also said the Vikings defense is to be feared. Fitzgerald said he expects Arizona's offense to have their hands full facing Minnesota's top-3 defense in front of its home crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Fitzgerald said it starts with Zimmer's coaching talent, and that leadership is compounded with the personnel he has to work with.

"Chad Greenway [is] playing at a really, really high level," Fitzgerald said. "Xavier's having a career year and is an all-pro again this year; Everson Griffen's playing at a Pro Bowl level. They have a lot of talent, and we have to be ready."

Arians is expecting an all-out battle of the defenses from kickoff until the play clock expires on Sunday. Arians and Zimmer are quite familiar with each other's coaching styles, as the two previously shared a division with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, respectively. Arians described Zimmer as "one of the most sound, aggressive defensive coaches" that he's ever gone against.

"They do their stuff, they know it inside and out, and you've got to beat them – they don't beat themselves," Arians said of Minnesota's defense. "Our defensive line is playing at a high level right now. I think both offensive lines have got all of their work cut out for them."

Here are some highlights of what the Redskins said about the Vikings this week.

Arians on the Vikings offensive line being battered by injuries:

"Oh gosh, yes, I went through it one year at Pittsburgh, and you just keep scratching your head: 'How can I help that guy?' The more you try to help him, the less help he gets because defenses know how to stop that help. They've just got to go out and play. Hopefully you can run the football and ease the pain, but it's hard, especially at left tackle to have a revolving door."

Fitzgerald on Terence Newman's 14-year career:

"Well, T-New is a consummate professional. You don't play in the National Football League at such a high level for 14 years without being not only a great athlete but just a real student. He understands what the defense is – he understands what the weaknesses are, what the strengths are. He understands leverage; he does a great job of understanding route combinations, reading splits. He's a really crafty guy – I played him a couple years ago when he was in Cincinnati still, and he got a pick on us. He just understands concepts very, very well, and you have to make sure that you're very careful around him with the football."

Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu on Vikings (5-4) and Cardinals (4-4-1) current situations:

"There were a lot of expectations for both teams coming into the season, and both of us have kind of played inconsistent at times. So I'm sure those guys are going to be ready after a four-game losing streak. I know they're going to be ready, and I know we're going to be ready as well."

View images of the Arizona Cardinals key contributors on offense, defense and special teams.

Cardinals receiver Michael Floyd on coming off a big performance:

"It feels good knowing that a lot more balls are coming your way, that the quarterback has all the confidence in me to make plays for our team. I think it's going to be a good one in Minnesota, a good battle against their defense, and I think it's going to be a good challenge for us."

Cardinals Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher on Minnesota's offense:

"[Their] offense has some extremely talented players on the perimeter. A lot of talent between tight end [Kyle Rudolph], between [Stefon] Diggs, a receiver who's had two great weeks in a row. Sam [Bradford] can deliver the ball; he can make the throws. So it's going to be a good challenge, it's going to be a good test on the road. We need to go out and play well for 60 minutes on defense."

"I love the matchup. [Vikings Interim Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur] is going to go compete. I have a lot of respect for Diggs and the way he's playing the game right now. They moved him around quite a bit – he's in the slot, he's outside."

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