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Adrian Peterson carried the load for the Minnesota Vikings, helping them improve to 5-2 after holding off the Arizona Cardinals 21-14 at the Mall of America Field.
Peterson had 23 carries for 153 yards and one touchdown to help the Vikings remain undefeated at home. Peterson continues to be a top 10 running back this season, showing no signs of last years gruesome injury.
The Vikings effective run game could have been the main reason why Minnesota’s pass game was nonexistent. Christian Ponder completed a season low of 8-of-17 passes for 58 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Ponders lone touchdown pass was to wideout Percy Harvin.
Harvin caught four receptions for 37 yards one touchdown. Harvin also carried the ball twice for 10 yards. He continues to be a lethal offensive threat in the passing game. Another big target for the Vikings pass game, tight end Kyle Rudolph, was held without a catch for the first time this season.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback, John Skelton, started again in place of Kevin Kolb, who is ailing a rib and shoulder injury. Kolb could be out for at least 6-8 weeks. Skelton completed 25-of-36 passes for 262 yards one touchdown, one fumble and one interception. Skelton connected with wideout Andre Roberts in the 4th quarter to pull within a touchdown.
Roberts caught seven receptions for 103 yards along with his 4th quarter touchdown. Roberts surpassed the 100 yard mark for the second time this season. In addition, Roberts out played star wideout Larry Fitzgerald, who only caught four passes for 29 yards. The Cardinals quarterbacks continue to struggle to get the ball in Fitzgeralds’ hands.
The Cardinals run game was very effective against a tough Minnesota defense. LaRod Stephens-Howling carried the ball 20 times for 104 yards and one touchdown. His 20 rushing attempts was a season high and his 104 yards was a career high for the young back. Stephens-Howling also had four receptions for 45 yards.
Minnesota’s pass rush was extremely effective in preserving the lead. The defense forced seven sacks; defensive end Brian Robison led the Vikings with three sacks. Cornerback Antoine Winfield led the Vikings with 11 tackles and one sack. Rookie safety, Harrison Smith recorded his first career interception.
The Minnesota Vikings are still atop the NFC North division with the Chicago Bears, and could jump ahead of the Bears if they lose to the Detroit Lions. Minnesota will attempt to continue to be dominant at home as they welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Mall of America Field next week.
Image Courtesy of Minnesota Vikings