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Cardinals vs Vikings: Week 2 NFL preview

Fresh off a dominating road win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 1, the Arizona Cardinals will play host to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2.

For Minnesota, this is pretty much a must-win after they fell to the Cincinnati Bengals in their season opener. Below, we preview this Cardinals vs Vikings Week 2 NFL matchup.

Cardinals vs Vikings: What you need to know

Find out where the Cardinals and Vikings stand in our NFL Week 2 power rankings

Kyler Murray vs Kirk Cousins

cardinals vs vikings preview: kirk cousins
Sam Greene via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Through his first 33 career starts, Kyler Murray has tallied 66 touchdowns against 25 interceptions. For comparison’s sake, NFC West foe Russell Wilson out up 59 total touchdowns and 19 interceptions in his first 33 NFL starts.

As for Kirk Cousins, there are always going to be questions about his ability to start for a contending team. Since joining the Vikings back in 2018, he’s posted a pedestrian 25-22-1 record as a starter.

  • Kyler’s ascension: Last week against the Titans, Murray tallied five total touchdowns in a blowout road win over a darn good team. The third-year quarterback has a good matchup against a Vikings defense that allowed Joe Burrow to complete 74% of his passes with two touchdowns in the season opener.
  • The mediocre Cousins: While Cousins did throw for 351 yards and two scores against Cincinnati, most of that came with his team down. It’s been a continuation of a theme under Cousins. Putting up numbers in garbage time. Boasting a career 21-32-2 record on the road, Cousins needs to change this narrative big time.

Dalvin Cook vs Cardinals run defense

cardinals vs vikings: dalvin cook
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

One of the better running backs in the NFL, Cook went for a mere 61 yards on 20 attempts against the Bengals in Week 1. Minnesota needs more balance on offense, especially given the struggles we’ve seen from Kirk Cousins winning games on the road.

As for the Cardinals’ run defense, it was mediocre last season, yielding the eighth-most yards per attempt on the ground. Arizona did, however, hold Derrick Henry to 58 rushing yards in Week 1.

  • Dalvin’s importance: Cook has 19 regular-season games of 90 yards or more under his belt. Minnesota is 14-5 in those games. In outings Cook fails to reach that number, the Vikings are 8-15-1. You need any more information to know just how important he is to Minnesota’s success?
  • A trend in Arizona: Holding the two-time reigning NFL rushing champion to 58 yards was a major key for Arizona in its season-opening win over the Titans. If this somehow becomes a trend in the desert, it will set Kliff Kingsbury and co. up well moving forward on the season.
Who is the best running back in the NFL?

DeAndre Hopkins vs Patrick Peterson

cardinals vs vikings preview: deandre hopkins
Andrew Nelles via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Teammates with the Cardinals a season ago, this is going to be one heck of a matchup. It’s also going to be interesting to see Peterson return to Arizona where he starred for the past decade.

  • The nuclear option: In 17 career games with Murray tossing him the rock, Hopkins has recorded 121 receptions for 1,490 yards and eight touchdowns. Last week alone, he scored two times. Add in a 72% catch rate, and it’s clear Nuke has found a new BFF in the desert.
  • Patrick’s demise overblown: Sure Bengals rookie Ja’Marr Chase put Peterson in a blender on one play last week. It was a highlight-reel play. With that said the future Hall of Famer yielded just one catch throughout the game. Minnesota is relying on him big time with Cameron Dantzler in the doghouse and following the release of 2020 first-round pick Jeff Gladney. He’ll need to play well here just to contain Nuke.

Bottom line: This Cardinals vs Vikings matchup is interesting for many reasons. For Minnesota, coming away with a road win against a conference opponent would be huge. A loss would also send the team to an 0-2 record and lead to more questions about Mike Zimmer’s status in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, the matchups just favor Arizona too much here to pick the road team.