The Vikings lost to a rookie quarterback at home three weeks ago. Will it happen again on Sunday? Not likely. Their defense will be sharper against Josh Rosen than it was against Josh Allen, and the Vikings will get back above .500 for the first time since Week 2.
THREE BIG STORY LINES
Running back returns
Dalvin Cook, who has missed two of the Vikings’ past three games because of a hamstring injury, is expected to be back on the field against the Cardinals but limited to 20-25 plays. The Cardinals have the NFL’s second-worst run defense.
After Josh Allen’s mobility, and the Bills’ misdirection, created some big plays for Buffalo in Week 3, the Vikings will face another rookie quarterback on Sunday. This time it will be Josh Rosen, the 10th overall pick in April. Rosen completed just 10 of his 25 passes last week against San Francisco.
Fitzgerald back home one more time
Will this be future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald’s last NFL game in Minneapolis? In the final year of his contract, the 35-year-old has 17 catches for 176 yards and said he won’t play for anyone but the Cardinals.
TWO KEY MATCHUPS
Vikings T Rashod Hill vs. Cards DE Chandler Jones
With Riley Reiff out because of a foot injury, Hill figures to start at left tackle, where he finished the game in Philadelphia. Coach Mike Zimmer said he thought Hill might have fared better on the left than on the right last week; on Sunday, Hill will be tasked with slowing down a pass rusher who had 17 sacks last season.
Vikings WR Stefon Diggs vs. Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson
The Cardinals haven’t asked Peterson to shadow receivers this season like he has in the past, so he will likely be matched up with a number of different wideouts on Sunday. He will see plenty of Diggs, though, in a matchup that could create some fireworks as Kirk Cousins challenges one of the league’s top cornerbacks.
ONE STAT THAT MATTERS
41 Years since the Cardinals’ last victory in Minnesota. They last beat the Vikings here when they were the St. Louis Cardinals, in 1977 at Met Stadium.
THE VIKINGS WILL WIN IF…
They can protect quarterback Kirk Cousins against an aggressive Cardinals defense, while getting the better of a rookie quarterback — who has a completion percentage of 49.2 percent this season — and has struggled to get into a rhythm. The Cardinals have their own injuries on the offensive line, which could provide another boost for the Vikings pass rush.
THE Cardinals WILL WIN IF…
They are able to create a couple of timely turnovers, much as the Bills did in Week 3, and get David Johnson involved enough to take some pressure off Rosen and make life easier for the rookie quarterback.
Ben Goessling’s prediction Vikings 24, Cardinals 13
Win Probability 80 percent