Cardinals Crushed; Vikings Win Big, 34-10

The Cardinals took a huge step back, getting blown out of Minnesota 34-10. Kolb was picked twice and fumbled once and never got the offense in gear. For more on the Cardinals, head over to Revenge of the Birds.

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Arizona Cardinals Hopes Fading Fast, Blown Out In Minnesota, 34-10

Coming into this NFL Week 5 game against the winless Minnesota Vikings, the Arizona Cardinals could at least claim they were close in all three of their losses. They didn't get blown out and in fact had late leads and easily could have won several of those games. At 1-3, there was still reason to find positives and feel hopeful. 

After this Sunday's butt-kicking in Minnesota, however, there is no such feelings. The Cardinals got absolutely shelled and never looked like they had a chance against a team that got beat by Kansas City last week.

Last season we saw Arizona lose faith and confidence and fold up the tent around this point. It will be interesting to see how the team responds this year.

Up next is a bye week followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers at home on October 23. That may not be a winnable game per se, but the Cardinals absolutely need to at least show up.

After an absolutely miserable first half that put them in a 28-3 hole, they came out and had a bit of life against a Minnesota team that's blown second half leads three times. They forced a fumble and then went 59 yards for a touchdown to "cut" the lead to within 18.

From there, however, it was back to going nowhere, fast. 

Minnesota marched 82 yards down the field and put up three more points. On their next three offensive possessions the Cardinals turned the ball over on downs twice and were intercepted once.

The Vikings defense knew the Cardinals had to throw the ball which helped their pass rush pressure Kolb and the secondary to key on the receivers. Game over.

This is the third-straight game that Kevin Kolb has struggled reading pressure, making decisions, and finding open receivers quickly. He might have the right attitude and desire to be a great quarterback. We'll see if he has the right skill set.

The Vikings put up 332 yards with Adrian Peterson running for 122 of them on 29 carries. He had three touch downs, all in the first half. 

Kolb went 21-42 for 232 yards. He took four sacks for 40 negative yards and was intercepted twice. Bean Wells ran for 60 yards on 20 carries against the NFL's fifth-best rush defense.

For more on this game and the Cardinals disappointing season, visit Revenge of the Birds.

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Cardinals Vs. Vikings: Historic Futility For Arizona Digs Deep First Half Hole

How bad was the 28-0 first quarter the Arizona Cardinals allowed to the Minnesota Vikings? According to research from ESPN's Mike Sando, it's only happened ten other times in the NFL since 1940. The Cardinals head into the second half having played their worst football of the season, down 28-3.

It's hard to place blame on any one part of the game when you get dominated that bad but quarterback Kevin Kolb has been atrocious. He gave up a fumble for one turnover, was tipped at the line several times with one going for an interception. And after a long drive late in the half took an 18-yard sack to push Arizona out of field goal range.

Kolb's numbers are 11-22 with two sacks taken, one interception, one fumble and just 104 yards of offense. It's a good think his coach and teammates have faith in him, because the fans and media are quickly losing hope. 

Defensively, the Cardinals were unable to contain Adrian Peterson who ran for and three touchdowns and 86 yards on 13 carries. The defense was saddled with bad field position on multiple occasions but still needed to find a way to make something happen.

Donavon McNabb continues to be horrible himself, going 4-12 for 63 yards but didn't turn over the ball.

Arizona had 123 total yards and seven first downs and were 4-11 on third down conversion attempts. The Vikings had 162 yards with 12 first downs and were just 1-4 on third down. The difference in the game was the two turnover and poor special teams that gave the Vikings the ball on the Arizona 18 early in the game.

The Vikings have giving up big first half leads three times so far this season. We'll see if the Cardinals can respond and at least show some life in the second half.

 For more on this debacle in progress, visit Revenge of the Birds live game thread.

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Cardinals Vs. Vikings Score Update: Arizona Can't Hold On To Ball, Down 21-0 In 1st Qtr

The Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings started this game showing why they have a combined 1-7 record going in. Neither team was all that impressive with the Cardinals offense failing to get a first down in their first two possessions and Dononvan McNabb thanking his lucky stars he wasn't picked off twice in his first two series.

Then Arizona imploded first and Minnesota was off to the races.

The Vikings got on the board first after the Cardinals got pinned to their goal line and put up a bad punt with bad punt coverage and gave Minnesota the ball at the Arizona 18. McNabb simply handed the ball to Adrian Peterson and let the league's best running back go to work. Peterson moved the chains and punched it in from four yards.

On the very next drive, Kolb was picked off when a ball over the middle was tipped at the line. The Vikings started their drive on the Arizona 24 and ended it one play later with Peterson in the end zone.

If things weren't bad enough, Kolb once again failed to feel the pressure from the outside and had the ball knocked from his hands for another fumble. Great field position once again turned into points for the home team. This time it was McNabb who ran the ball in to put Minnesota up 21-0.

For more on this debacle in progress, visit Revenge of the Birds live game thread.

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Cardinals Vs. Vikings: Minnesota Expert Breaks Down The Game

This is a big game for the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings. Both teams have struggled to close out games and either team is just a couple of plays away from being 4-0. The winless Vikings look at their schedule and see an opportunity to get in the "W" column. The Cardinals believe their team still can make the playoffs but they know they can't keep losing winnable games.

The break down this big NFC Week 5 match up, we called on Vikings expert Chris Gates from The Daily Norseman and SB Nation Minnesota.

The Vikings had first half leads of 10, 17 and 20 points but lost all those games in the second half. They've gone away from Adrian Peterson, their star running back late in games and they've seen Donovan McNabb run for his life due to poor protection.

Gates described the mood in Minnesota about their team, "It's kind of in between. You watch the first halves of these games, especially the first three, you can see that there's talent there on both sides of the ball. This isn't a completely untalented mess we're looking at."

As you might expect, the feeling in the frozen north is that it's time to put McNabb out to pasture and turn the ball over to first-round pick Christian Ponder. Of course, some worry that throwing Ponder to the wolves too soon could back fire and hurt his long-term development. McNabb has already been named the starter for Sunday.

Vikings offense

The Vikings are 24th in the NFL in points scored through four weeks and that's mostly due to the below average performance of McNabb. Gates points out that the receiving corp hasn't helped either. 

Minneosta brought in WR Michael Jenkins in to replace Sidney Rice. Jenkins would be a good possession guy in most other offenses but is being called on to do too much. He's been solid along with Percy Harvin and the team is also excited about second-round pick TE Kyle Rudolph. Outside of that, no one has stepped up.

Adrian Peterson is clearly still the best player on the Viking's offense. If he's frustrated about how he's been used in the second half, he's not showing it. 

"He's obviously the best offensive weapon on the team," Gates said. "He's the premier guy at his position in the league and he's the guy the offense should be based around."

Recognizing the struggles the Vikings have moving the ball in the air, Gates fully expects the Cardinals to load up in the box to stop Peterson.

Vikings defense

The brightest spot in Minnesota this season has been their run defense, ranking fifth in the NFL, with the front seven still the strength of the team. In addition to Jared Allen at one defensive end spot, the Vikings have gotten better-than-expected play from the other DE, Brian Robinson. 

"What scares me this week, our secondary was struggling prior to now and it turns out our best defensive back by a mile, Antoine Winfield injured his neck last week," Gates said.

The Vikings secondary is ranked 28th in the league and that was before losing their best player.

Prediction

"I would like to think that the Vikings have enough to get a win. They're at home...If they can't manage to pull something out against the Cardinals this week it's really hard to look at that schedule and see where wins are going to come from," Gates said.

"I'm not super optimistic, but if I have to make a prediction I'll take the Vikings by a field goal or so."

For more on this game visit Revenge of the Birds and The Daily Norseman.

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Cardinals Vs. Vikings: Todd Heap Injury Update; Whisenhunt Specifies Late Game Issues

The Arizona Cardinals (1-3) and Minnesota Vikings (0-4) are two teams about to diverge from a shared path. Both teams had opportunities to have much better records than they do and both teams feel like they will get better closing out games. On Sunday, only one will have accomplished that goal according to coach Ken Whisenhunt.

"It's going to be a tough game. They play hard, they've got good football players and they haven't been able to finish out a game much like us. Obviously, one of the two teams will be able to finish the game this week, my hope is that it's us," Whiz said.

One area of improvement late in games cited by Whisenhunt was getting pressure on the quarterback, especially when you know they are throwing the ball. Part of that is keeping OLB Joey Porter from being gassed late in games and that means having having his backup, O'Brien Schofield, step up. Unfortunately, it sounds like Schofield's still not ready despite flashes of what his speed and talent can bring.

"The trust factor is what's so difficult because defensive schemes are all built on everybody being in their spot, and if they're not, that's what leads to big plays. When you see things happen, whether it's in practice or in a game, and players make mistakes, you have a tendency to be hesitant to put them in," Whisenhunt said.

Familiarity breeds contempt

Guard Daryn Colledge knows the Vikings defensive personnel very well. Having played against them 11 times in the past few years as a member of Green Bay Packers, he said Minnesota has an active front, similar to the New York Giants

It sounds like there might even be some bad blood still, "There's a couple of guys over there that will remember me and that I remember." 

Injury update

Todd Heap (hamstring) will be like Beanie Wells last week, a Sunday decision. C Lyle Sendlein (elbow) and CB A.J. Jefferson (ankle) both did more in practice today so they look good for Sunday. Joey Porter (knee) should be fine. Resting him during the week is about helping him stay fresh for the game. 

LaRod Stephens-Howling (hand) has progressed to the point where he will likely start returning kicks again. He made a catch in the Giants game and could have returned kicks but Whisenhunt was happy with A.J. Jefferson in that role.

For more on the Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds blog.

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