The high-flying 10-2 Arizona Cardinals, winners of six straight games, will welcome the 8-4 Minnesota Vikings Thursday Night to University of Phoenix Stadium for a prime time (7:25 pm) showdown on the NFL Network. The Cardinals are the NFL’s highest scoring team with 382 points. Number two are the New England Patriots, 375, and then the 12-0 unbeaten Carolina Panthers with 373.
The Cardinals lead the NFC West by three games over 7-5 Seattle. The Seahawks embarrassed the Vikings Sunday 38-7 at TCF Stadium.
The Vikings have lost two in row at home by a margin of 68-20 and have lost two of their last three games. They are still in a strong position with four games left to be a playoff team, tied with 8-4 Green Bay in the NFC North.
Arizona features its Minnesota wide receiver connection of Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. and Michael Floyd. Both players were born in Minnesota and are now stars in the NFL. Floyd played high school ball at Cretin Derham Hall in St. Paul. Fitzgerald attended high school at Holy Angels in Richfield. Fitzgerald on Sunday grabbed eight passes for 55 yards in the 27-3 win over St. Louis. Floyd had seven catches for 104 yards in the victory.
The 32-year-old Fitzgerald is an eight-time Pro Bowl star. Sunday he became the youngest and fastest player in NFL history to reach 1,000 career receptions, tying Hines Ward for 10th place on the NFL’s all-time reception list. Sunday, Fitzgerald also went over 1,000 yards for the year in receiving yards.
Fitzgerald has 1,047 yards this season with 91 receptions and seven touchdowns. He leads the Cardinals in receiving yards, touchdowns and receptions.
Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, like Cam Newton of Carolina, is an MVP candidate. He’s thrown an NFC-best 29 touchdown passes for 3,693 yards. Palmer has won 23 of his last 27 starts.
The Vikings need to regroup fast, having a short week after being outplayed and outcoached in all areas. There is plenty of reason for concern — why just eight carries for Peterson? Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had a tough day also, sacked four times and just 118 yards passing.
Seattle has been to back-to-back Super Bowls, and quarterback Russell Wilson has lit fire to Seattle’s offense in the last four games, scoring 32, 29, 39 and 38 points Sunday.
The Vikings have some injuries to deal with also on defense tackle Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith. They have won their last four on the road for the first time since 1998. Making it five straight is the goal Thursday night against the Minnesota receiver connection of Fitzgerald and Floyd and the first-place Cardinals.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.