Vikings defensive end Brian Robison isn't afraid to say he's getting angry with teammate Jared Allen. For every time Robison finds his way into the backfield to sack an opposing quarterback, Allen seems determined to one-up him.
That back-and-forth continued during Sunday's 34-10 beatdown of Arizona. Robison's first-quarter strip sack of Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb set up the Vikings' third touchdown. But five series later, Allen responded, sacking Kolb on third-and-8 for an 18-yard loss.
Late in the third quarter, Robison got to Kolb again. Early in the fourth, so too did Allen.
"He won't let me catch him," Robison said. "I'm trying not to let him run away with this sacks [lead]."
Both finished the game with two sacks. Through five games, Robison has 41/2 sacks, but Allen leads the NFL with 8 1/2.
Cornerback Cedric Griffin was benched for the opening series for reasons that neither he nor coach Leslie Frazier were willing to talk about.
"Disciplined for something that from my standpoint, that we have to be right on and he understands that, and we move on," Frazier said.
Griffin declined interviews in the locker room after the game, saying, "I'm good for today."
The Vikings opened in their nickel defense. With Antoine Winfield, the team's other starting cornerback, out because of a neck strain, that put Chris Cook and Asher Allen on the corners and Marcus Sherels in the slot.
"They came up big for us today," Frazier said of Cook and Allen. "To come up with the big plays that we talked about all week long, for Asher to step in and really fulfill that philosophy that we have, next man up, to play the way he did."
Winfield is dealing with neck stiffness that surfaced after a tackle last weekend in Kansas City. Winfield had not practiced all week.
Sanford tripped up
Strong safety Jamarca Sanford called it his best game. Recording one's first two career interceptions five minutes apart in the fourth quarter will cause one to say that.
However, Sanford wishes he had the second pickoff back. Or at least the return. He returned it 23 yards before tripping.
"I think the grass tripped me up," Sanford said. "The blockers were out front. It was just me tripping over the turf."
Try it again
The Vikings used their first timeout Sunday with 9:59 left in the first quarter when mass confusion had their offense in disarray.
The Vikings had first-and-goal from the 7 after an 11-yard run by Adrian Peterson. But Peterson was called off the field and the Vikings instead began to line up with an unusual formation that had receiver Percy Harvin, tight end Kyle Rudolph and running back Toby Gerhart all in the backfield. Quarterback Donovan McNabb struggled to get things set and, with the play clock running out, called the timeout.
After the break, the Vikings returned with a more traditional set. Peterson took handoffs on the next two plays and scored the first of his three touchdowns with a straightforward 4-yard run.
Kluwe comes through
Punter Chris Kluwe (strained hamstring) was able to play and averaged 47.5 yards on four punts. Arizona's dangerous punt returner, rookie Patrick Peterson, didn't attempt a return all day.
Kluwe's first punt was a 51-yard gem that landed inside the Arizona 5, downed by Sanford at the 3.
Fitzgerald in check
Minneapolis native Larry Fitzgerald remains winless as an NFL player in the stadium where he once served as a Vikings ball boy. The Cardinals receiver was targeted eight times but was relatively quiet, with four catches for 66 yards.
Fitzgerald's 22-yard catch early in the second half set up Beanie Wells' 2-yard touchdown run, cutting the Vikings lead. But Fitzgerald was unable to spark a rally and is 0-3 during his career at Mall of America Field. His totals in those three games: 22 catches for 345 yards.
• The Vikings avoided joining the 1962 team as the only ones to start 0-5 in franchise history.
• The Cardinals fell to 0-7 at the Metrodome. They haven't won in Minnesota since 1977, when they were the St. Louis Cardinals.
• Jared Allen missed time late in the third quarter after taking a finger to the eye that messed up his vision and caused some bleeding. "I just saw a white flash," he said. "It felt like a finger poking my brain."
• When Robison was sidelined briefly in the third quarter because of an abdominal strain, Christian Ballard saw some time at left defensive end.
• Donovan McNabb's 4-yard TD run in the first quarter was his 29th career rushing touchdown and his first since an 8-yard scamper against the 49ers on Dec. 20, 2009, when he was with Philadelphia.