MINNEAPOLIS - It’s only Week 2 of the NFL regular season, and it already feels like it could be a turning point in the Minnesota Vikings season.
The Vikings are on the road for the second straight week Sunday, in Arizona to face the Cardinals at 3:05 p.m. Despite a season-opener filled with penalties and mistakes at key times, the Vikings still had a chance to leave Cincinnati with a comeback win until Dalvin Cook fumbled in overtime in a 27-24 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Can the Vikings bounce back Sunday at Arizona? They’re going to have to clean many things to come home with a win over the Cardinals. Kyler Murray threw for four touchdowns, two to DeAndre Hopkins and two to Christian Kirk, and ran for another last week as the Cardinals beat the Tennessee Titans 38-13.
The Vikings committed 12 penalties for 116 yards last week, including 10 offensive penalties, four alone that came on the opening drive. The offensive line will get a huge test this week against Chandler Jones, J.J. Watt and the rest of the Arizona defense, which collected six sacks last week.
Defensively, the Vikings are little beat up on the injury front. Anthony Barr remains out with a knee injury, and Everson Griffen won’t play Sunday due to a concussion he suffered during a vehicle accident last Thursday while swerving to avoid a deer. Linebacker Eric Kendricks, who missed Thursday's practice with a quad injury but returned Friday, is active for Sunday's game after being listed as questionable on the injury report. Mike Zimmer didn’t seem overly concerned about Kendricks after Friday’s practice.
The Vikings' inactives, released 90 minutes before kickoff, include Kellen Mond, Harrison Hand, Chazz Surratt, Barr, Christian Darrisaw, James Lynch and Griffen. It also appears defensive back Cam Dantzler will return after being inactive, a healthy scratch, last week.
Sunday also marks Patrick Peterson's return to Arizona after signing with the Vikings in the offseason. Peterson made eight straight Pro Bowls, and was a First Team All-Pro at defensive back three times in his 10 seasons with the Cardinals.
It’s a pivotal Sunday for the Vikings. They’re 3.5-point underdogs on the road, but have a chance to come home with a 1-1 record before the first game in front of a sellout crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium in two years. Lose, and the Vikings are 0-2 with three straight home games ahead, and plenty of uncertainty of where the season could head.