Larry Fitzgerald Jr. left Minnesota winless yet again Sunday. The star receiver hasn’t won a football game in his home state since his senior year of high school at Holy Angels in 2002.
The long drought was extended after the Vikings' 30-24 victory over Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals to push the local product’s regular-season hometown losing streak to five games. If you include two preseason games, Fitzgerald is 0-7 as professional in Minnesota.
The Cardinals are 2-6, including games played in Arizona, against the Vikings since Fitzgerald joined the team in 2004. He first lost in Minnesota almost 10 years ago on Nov. 26, 2006.
The former No. 3 overall draft pick has matured into one of the NFL’s best receivers after 13 successful years in the league, but has struggled at times when visiting Minneapolis. He entered Sunday’s game with just one career touchdown against the Vikings and left stuck on that number.
Fitzgerald finished Sunday’s game with six catches on seven targets for 63 yards and averaged 10.5 yards per catch. However, his totals were near season lows.
Last week against San Francisco, Fitzgerald put up season-high totals with 12 receptions on 18 targets for 132 yards and moved into seventh place on the NFL’s all-time reception list. After Sunday’s game, he has 1,092 receptions and needs three receptions to pass Tim Brown and 11 to pass former Vikings star Cris Carter on the all-time list.
Fitzgerald has 50 catches 673 yards in his career against the Vikings.
He told Arizona media leading up Sunday’s game he isn’t bothered by his lack of success in his hometown.
“It would bother me if I played for the Vikings and I hadn’t won a game there,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s not like I have a big body of work there. I haven’t won in Buffalo, I haven’t won in Green Bay. Never won in Pittsburgh, as a professional. Never won in Houston.
“There are some places besides Minnesota that I haven’t won a ballgame in, so it is something I would like to change, obviously, but it doesn’t keep me up at night.”
It might not keep him up at night, but it might be something that follows him into his post-football life with the veteran receiver reportedly considering retirement in the near future.
For now, this is what he has to remember about his stops in Minneapolis:
Nov. 26, 2006: Fitzgerald put up big numbers in his NFL debut in Minnesota with 11 receptions for 172 yards, but no touchdowns in a 31-26 loss. The 172 yards is still a career-best against the Vikings.
Nov. 7, 2010: Fitzgerald, again, totaled more than 100 yards with seven catches on 10 targets for 107 yards, but, again, no touchdowns in the 27-24 defeat. His only TD against the Vikings came a year earlier in Arizona’s 30-17 win at home.
Oct. 9, 2011: Fitzgerald made just four catches on eight targets for 66 yards and no touchdowns in a 34-10 loss.
Oct. 21, 2012: The Vikings held Fitzgerald to just 29 reception yards on four catches in the 21-14 loss.
Nov. 6, 2016: Fitzgerald showed Minnesota fans he still can make great catches with his 15-yard diving grab in the red zone during the second quarter. He finished with six catches for 63 yards and, again, no touchdowns.