THIS WEEK’S PREVIEW
The Cardinals make their 2021 regular season home debut when they host the Vikings at State Farm Stadium on Sunday. Arizona enters the game looking to start the season 2-0 for the second straight year – and for just the seventh Ɵ me in the last 31 seasons.
Sunday’s game begins the Cardinals 16 regular season at State Farm Stadium, where the team is 10-5 in home openers. After playing in front of a largely empty stadium last season due to the pandemic – Arizona welcomes the return of a full house for Sunday’s game. The Cardinals played just five home games with the general public in limited attendance last season, and those five games saw a combined 9,600 fans in attendance. The venue will far exceed that number this weekend.
When it comes to the series between the Cardinals and Vikings, playing at home makes a significant difference. The home team has won seven in a row – and 11 of the last 12 – in the series between the two teams. Arizona has won two straight against Minnesota at State Farm Stadium.
After shuƫting down RB Derrick Henry and the Titans high-powered offense in last week’s opener at Tennessee, the Cardinals defense faces another big test in RB Dalvin Cook. The Cardinals shut down the Titans offense to the tune of 13 points, 248 yards and 86 rushing yards last week, while allowing an NFL-low 3.88 yards per play. Much of the damage done by the Cardinals defense last week came courtesy of LB Chandler Jones, who had a career game with 5.0 sacks to go along with two forced fumbles and six QB hits.
Minnesota’s defense is also coming off a productive outing in its overtime loss to the Bengals in Week 1. The unit recorded five sacks, seven QB hits and seven tackles for loss. On Sunday the Vikings defense faces QB Kyler Murray, who is coming off a career game in which he set career highs for total TDs (5) and passing TDs (4) in leading the Cardinals to a 25-point win at Tennessee.
Following this week’s game the Cardinals will embark on a two-game road trip when they travel to Jacksonville in Week 3. That is the first of consecutive road games on opposite coasts for the Cardinals, who head back West for a showdown with the Rams in Week 4. After back-to-back road games to start the year, the Vikings will return to U.S. Bank Stadium for their regular season home opener
THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS
The Cardinals make their 2021 regular season home debut on Sunday. Arizona is 10-5 in home openers since beginning play at State Farm Stadium in 2006.
This week marks the return of CB Patrick Peterson, who played 77 games (including postseason) at State Farm Stadium during his 10 seasons (2011-20) with the Cardinals.
After facing the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year in RB Derrick Henry last week, Arizona’s defense will face RB Dalvin Cook in Week 2. The NFL’s two leading rushers last season, Henry and Cook combined to run for 3,584 yards and 33 TDs in 2020. Arizona held Henry to just 58 yards on 17 carries last week, including just nine carries for eight yards in the first half.
LB Chandler Jones recorded six tackles, a career-high 5.0 sacks, two forced fumbles, six QB hits and four tackles for loss last week. Jones now has 102.0 sacks in 125 career games. His per game sack average (.816) ranks 2ⁿǖ in NFL history behind only Reggie White (.853) among players w/ at least 75 games played.
QB Kyler Murray accounted for a career-high five total TDs (4 passing, rushing) and threw for a career-high four TDs last week in Tennessee. It (121.0) marked Murray’s fifth career game with a passer rating of 120+.
There were 13 different players who made their Cardinals debut last week. That includes rookies LB Zaven Collins, WR Rondale Moore and CB Marco Wilson – who all started in their NFL debut.
The Cardinals defense was dominant in last week’s win. The unit totaled 6 sacks, 3 takeaways, 9 QB hits, 8 tackles for loss, 8 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.
CARDINALS-VIKINGS ALL-TIME SERIES
This week’s matchup between the Cardinals and Vikings marks the 27th all-Ɵ me regular season meeting between the two teams in a rivalry that dates back to 1963. The Vikings hold a 15-11 advantage in the all-time series.
Sunday’s contest marks the Cardinals 14th Ɵ me hosting the Vikings and Arizona has a 7-6 home record in the previous 13 matchups. Although this will be the 10th meeting between the two teams since State Farm Stadium opened in 2006, it marks just the fourth to take place on the Cardinals home field. Five of the last six meetings between the Cards and Vikings have taken place in Minnesota.
Home field advantage has been significant in this series, with the home team winning seven in a row – and 11 of the last 12. Arizona enters Sunday’s game having won two straight at home against the Vikings, including a 23-20 victory over Minnesota in its last visit to State Farm Stadium in 2015.
Sunday’s game marks the ninth time in the last 14 seasons the Cardinals and Vikings will have squared off .
CARDS-VIKINGS ALL-TIME REGULAR SEASON SERIES
Overall Regular Season Series: 11-15
Cardinals at home vs. MIN: 7-6
First Meeting: 10/6/63 @ Minnesota, W, 56-14
Last Meeting: 10/14/18 @ Minnesota, L, 27-17
Last Cardinals win vs. MIN: 12/10/15 vs. Min, W, 23-20