The odds are stacked against the Vikings entering tonight's showdown in the desert with the 10-2 Arizona Cardinals.
Arizona is riding a six-game win streak, but it hasn't been easy. They blew out the Rams 27-3 last week and rocked the Browns 34-20 for their second win in the streak, but the rest have been close; they defeated the Ravens, Seahawks, Bengals and 49ers by a combined score of 118-94; those four wins were all decided by 8 points or fewer.
Arizona is an 8.5-point morning line favorite at Caesar's Palace.
The Cardinals own the NFL's highest-scoring offense at 31.8 points per game, and they're led by:
- QB: Carson Palmer – 3,693 yards, 29 TD, 9 INT
- RB: David Johnson – 814 yards, 3 TD, 32 receptions
- WR: Larry Fitzgerald – 91 receptions, 1,047 yards, 7 TD
- WR: Michael Floyd – 35 receptions, 550 yards, 5 TD
- WR: John Brown – 51 receptions, 817 yards, 4 TD
Vikings quote that says it all
“I do think this team has a lot of character and has a lot of smart guys that don’t like to be embarrassed,” coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday about his team coming back after a blowout loss to Seattle. “I think they like challenges.”
Cardinals quote that says it all
“I just know we control most of our own destiny,” coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday, via the Arizona Republic. “I know we might play these guys (Vikings) again and I’d like for it to be at our house.”
Arizona can clinch a playoff spot with the win while the Vikings are clinging to life as both a Wild Card team and the potential winner of the NFC North.
Minnesota is currently tied with the Packers atop the division, but Green Bay owns the tie-breaker thanks to a win over the Vikings last month. The remaining schedule for both teams:
- GB: vs. Dallas (4-8), at Oakland (5-7), at Arizona (10-2), vs. Vikings (8-4)
- MN: at Arizona (10-2), vs. Chicago (5-7), vs. NYG (5-7), at Packers (8-4)
The Vikings are also trying to hold off the Seahawks (7-5), Falcons (6-6) and Buccaneers (6-6) in the Wild Card race.
- Out for the Vikings: Anthony Barr, Linval Joseph, Harrison Smith, Andrew Sendejo, Brandon Watts.
- Questionable for the Vikings: Robert Blanton, Antone Exum
- Out for the Cardinals: running back Andre Ellington, defensive tackle Frostee Rucker, cornerback Jerraud Powers
- Doubtful for the Cardinals: tight end Jermaine Gresham
- Questionable for the Cardinals: safety Tony Jefferson, defensive tackle Cory Redding