Ten Big Takeaways From Vikings Vs. Cardinals Week Eight

October 30, 2022

The Vikings found a way to win another one-score game and to improve to 6-1 with a 34-26 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Kirk Cousins did not have an overly impressive game but he played a clean game and had two passing TDs to go along with a rushing TD. Dalvin Cook gave it to the Arizona defense to the tune of 20 carries for 111 yards and a TD. Once again it was not an amazingly clean game by the Vikings but a win is a win. 

1. First Down Statistics Tell The Full Story

Both teams finished the game with 25 first downs and their yardage by both offenses was almost the same. The Cardinals finished the game with 375 yards and the Vikings had 381. The Vikings had a 14-3 lead partway through the first quarter but the Cardinals fought back and it was a tight game throughout the rest of the game. 

2. Passing vs. Rushing

The Vikings got 173 yards on the ground while the Cardinals only managed to get 78 yards. The Cardinals made up for this difference by gaining 297 yards through the air compared to the Vikings’ 208 yards.

3. Costly Penalties On Both Sides

The Cardinals and Vikings both had penalties that helped the opposing team to continue their drives. Both teams had three first downs from penalties. They also both had 10 penalties throughout the game, the main difference is that the Cardinals’ penalties only cost them 67 yards compared to the Vikings’ 86 yards. 

4. Cousins Wins The QB Battle

As mentioned before, Cousins’ stats were not overly impressive but he did play a clean game. You could not say the same for Kyler Murray who had three TDs but also had two INTs, and a fumble. Murray was able to avoid some sacks but he still got brought to the ground six times throughout the game and four of those were sacks. 

5. Deandre Hopkins Does What Only He Can Do

One of Murray’s three passing TDs was to Deandre Hopkins. He was covered perfectly by Harrison Smith on the play but was able to snag the ball with one hand to secure the TD. He would have to be seen as one of the bright spots for the Cardinals in this loss for them as he finished with 12 catches for 159 yards and a TD. 

6. Vikings’ Pursuit Of Kyler Murray Was Relentless

It seemed as if it was nearly every play Kyler Murray was under duress and trying to make something out of nothing. He was able to escape some of the pass rushes and make positive plays but he did also get sacked four times. These four sacks cost the Cardinals 29 yards and it was two sacks on the final drive that sealed the victory for the Vikings. 

7. Za’Darius Smith Continues To Prove His Value

Za’Darius Smith was a terror today and he finished with seven total tackles, three sacks, four tackles for loss, and one pass defended. He left the game for a short while with an injury but he was able to return and continued to harass Kyler Murray all day long. Many times it was when he was coming from the interior of the line that he was able to get to the quarterback. 

8. Patrick Peterson And Jordan Hicks Both Excel Against Their Former Team

Patrick Peterson made quite a few plays today and looked exceptional except for his defensive pass-interference penalty. He finished the day with four tackles and three passes defended. Jordan Hicks continued to rack up the tackles with six for the day. They both made several stops that combined to get the Cardinals to turn the ball over in one way or another.

9. Cams Continue To Conquer Opposing Offenses

Cam Dantzler made several big stops and finished with nine tackles on the day. Cam Bynum finished the game with two tackles to go along with his an INT. Dantzler did have a defensive pass interference penalty on the last drive of the game but fortunately, the Cardinals were not able to capitalize on it. 

10. Greg Joseph Continues To Struggle A Bit

Fortunately, the missed field goal and extra point by Greg Joseph did not cost the Vikings the game this week. He missed the only field goal that he attempted and he missed it so badly that the defender did not even need to lift his hands, it nailed him right in the helmet. The extra point that he missed bounced off of the left upright and then back out. He did make his other four extra points but it does seem that his kicking could still be an area of concern for this team. 

The Vikings won this game 34-26 but they could have lost it very easily if a couple of plays had not gone their way. If Greg Dortch would have been able to recover his fumble on the muffed punt and if Trey McBride had not gotten two offensive holding penalties in a row, then the Vikings would have had a lot longer field to travel. As it stands, the Vikings win this game to move to 6-1 and extend their lead over the Packers and everybody else in the division. 
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