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The Vikings would like to get a big rush on Arizona quarterack John Skelton, right, but stopping the run has to come first.

Paul Connors, Associated Press

The Call: Vikings vs. Arizona

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER
  • Star Tribune
  • October 20, 2012 - 11:45 PM

One man's prediction Vikings 20, Arizona 14: The opportunity for a quick start exists against a Cardinals offense that's averaging only 264 yards and 11.5 points per game on the road. The Vikings are 3-0 at Mall of America Field and didn't trail in home victories over San Francisco and Tennessee.

 

Red alert The Vikings struggled inside the red zone last week in Washington, when three consecutive first-quarter drives ended with field goals and a 9-0 lead that actually proved discouraging. "You come off the field and you're just like, 'Gol dog it!' " Adrian Peterson said. "Because it could have easily been 21-0." But here's a heartening stat for the Vikings: Of the nine offensive touchdowns scored this season by Peterson and fellow playmakers Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph, seven have come at home.

First task In order for the Vikings' pass rushers to best take advantage of Arizona's susceptible offensive line, they will first have to contain the run. That, Jared Allen said, has to be the first focus before the D-line gets too eager to attack quarterback John Skelton. "You start worrying about one thing and your focus shifts," Allen said. "And every time you go out and try to force a pass rush situation, you affect the entirety of the defense." The Vikings have limited opposing running backs to 2.9 yards per carry.

Not so sweet Twin Cities native Larry Fitzgerald hasn't had much success at the Metrodome. In three visits, he's 0-3, with last season's 34-10 beatdown the most lopsided of those defeats. Still, Fitzgerald continues to energize an otherwise shaky Arizona offense. Last week, he surpassed 10,000 career receiving yards, joining Randy Moss as the only receivers to reach that milestone while still in their 20s. Fitzgerald owns franchise records for catches (729), yards (10,045) and TDs (76). His career stats at the Metrodome: 22 catches, 345 yards, zero touchdowns.

The big number: 22 Sacks allowed by the Cardinals in their past three games. Arizona has allowed an NFL-most 28 sacks. Only one other team has allowed more than 20 all season -- Green Bay with 23.

BREAKOUT DAY? Patrick Peterson, Cardinals: Both Christian Ponder and Chris Kluwe better keep an eye on No. 21. Peterson is fast emerging as a shutdown cover corner and has three interceptions this season. He also averages 10.1 yards per punt return and had four return TDs as a rookie.

MANO-A-MANO: A MATCHUP TO WATCH

Today: Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell vs. Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil

About Campbell NFC Defensive Player of the Week after an upset of New England in Week 2.

About Kalil Focused rookie hasn't needed much help in pass protection through six starts.

Advantage: Campbell. Kalil not only has to keep Campbell from sacking Christian Ponder, he also has to keep the 6-8, 300-pounder from batting down passes. Campbell has five of those this year.

 

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