The reeling Vikings, who have changed offensive coordinators and kickers during their four-game losing streak, would fall to .500 with a loss to a talented Cardinals team that is also struggling. Mike Zimmer’s defense, backed by a rowdy crowd, will stop the slide.
Prediction: Vikings 17, Cardinals 16
Three big story lines
Kai’s the guy
The Blair Walsh era ended Tuesday after the struggling kicker missed another extra point in last week’s loss. The new guy is Kai Forbath, whose career field-goal percentage is just a notch below Walsh.
Back to T.J.
Jake Long, the veteran who started the last three games at left tackle, suffered a season-ending Achilles’ injury last Sunday. So the Vikings will turn back to T.J. Clemmings, who has struggled at left tackle.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is still going strong, leading the Cardinals with 68 catches, 686 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns. But this could be the 33-year-old’s final game in his hometown.
Two key matchups
Vikings WR Stefon Diggs vs. Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson
After watching Diggs catch 26 passes the past two weeks, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said he plans to stick Peterson, one of the NFL’s top cover men, on Diggs. Peterson shut down Diggs in a Cardinals win last season.
Vikings MLB Eric Kendricks vs. Cardinals RB David Johnson
Johnson, the NFL’s most dangerous dual threat, has totaled 100 yards from scrimmage in 13 of his 14 career games. Kendricks, who is expected to suit up, will have his hands full with Johnson, a former receiver.
One stat that matters
5 Turnovers by Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer in his team’s past two games.
The Vikings will win if…
They can rediscover their pass rush against a Cardinals offense that likes to chuck it deep and a couple of receivers other than Diggs can make plays.
The Cardinals will win if…
The defense keeps allowing chunk plays against Fitzgerald, Johnson and others and pass rushers Chandler Jones and Markus Golden swarm QB Sam Bradford.
Vensel’s win probability