NFL Football: Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 19, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 4:05 p.m. ET, Sept. 19, 2021
Venue: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Where to watch: FOX

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Cardinals -4; O/U 50.5; Cardinals -210, Vikings +175
BetMGM: Cardinals -3.5; O/U 51; Cardinals -200, Vikings +165
Caesars: Cardinals -3.5; O/U 50.5; Cardinals -200, Vikings +170

Season record
Vikings: 0-1
Cardinals: 1-0

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Vikings - Cardinals preview and analysis


Recent form
Vikings: lost 27-24 (OT) at Bengals in Week 1
Cardinals: won 38-13 at Titans in Week 1

Does anyone else ever have flashbacks to that buzzer-beating touchdown in 2003 whenever the Minnesota Vikings play the Arizona Cardinals?

Because I think of it every now and then whenever the two teams get together. Just the radio call from the Minnesota radio station and how a lowly Cardinals team just ended hope for all of Minneapolis.

Good news for the Vikings is there won’t be any playoff heartbreak in Week 2 (that’ll come in about 14 weeks or so) when they face a Cardinals team that has every right to feel on top of the world after doing what they did Sunday.

The Cardinals enter their home opener after a surprising 25-point win against the Tennessee Titans that saw Kyler Murray look like an MVP, DeAndre Hopkins laughing at the Houston Texans yet again, and Christian Kirk taking his place as one of the more underrated receivers in the game.

But the story of the day was actually the Cardinals defense limiting what was supposed to be a dangerous Tennessee offense. The Titans looked like a team that could have benefitted from playing together in the preseason, especially the top unit. Ryan Tannehill was held to only 212 yards, and rushing champ Derrick Henry had only 58 yards on 17 carries. Even Julio Jones was held to 29 yards on three catches.

That was because Chandler Jones had five sacks, three of them in the first quarter, and a fumble for this newly revamped defensive line. He and JJ Watt are forming one of the most dangerous pass-rush combos in the league after only one week.

Arizona’s defense is going to be tough, finesse group that will punch offenses in the mouth. The Vikings should prove to be a difficult matchup for the Cardinals, all things considered if quarterback Kirk Cousins doesn’t have one of his cold spells.

Cousins threw for 351 yards and two touchdowns, but had to throw 49 times due to Dalvin Cook being shut down by the Cincinnati Bengals. Due to Cook’s fumble in overtime, the Bengals and Joe Burrow drove down the field with time running out and got the winning field goal for a 27-24 stunner on Minnesota.

This is a crucial year for Cousins and the Minnesota offense. There’s no shortage of weapons, seeing how Adam Thielen had 92 yards and two both of Cousins’ touchdown passes. Justin Jefferson, last season’s leading receiver as a rookie, had a somewhat-quiet 5-catch, 71-yard effort.

But if there’s one person more fired up than anybody to play this game is the return of cornerback Patrick Peterson to Arizona. The former Cardinals legend signed a one-year deal with the Vikings in the offseason after not receiving an offer from the Cardinals to come back. Never discount the importance of a revenge game.

Prediction


Murray is a different form of quarterback than Burrow. Minnesota’s defense totaled five sacks on the Cincy quarterback, but failed to contain Joe Mixon (127 yards, 1 TD). The Vikings defense doesn’t come off athletic enough to deal with Murray, and even with Peterson returning, there isn’t enough to contain the passing attack that torched a strong Titans defense in Week 1. Cardinals by 10

Betting trends


Minnesota is 9-10 against the spread in its last 19 games.

Arizona is 1-7 in its last eight against the spread and only 3-5 straight up.

Players to watch


Vikings: K.J. Osborn turned into a solid No. 3 for Cousins after Thielen and Jefferson. The 2020 fifth-round pick had seven receptions for 76 yards, the first bit of stats in his career. He didn’t record a catch in two games played last season.

Cardinals: James Conner was bottled up a tad against the Titans, compared to his RB teammate Chase Edmonds. Conner had 16 carries for 53 yards, but expect a bigger game from the former Steelers running back.

Statistical leaders


Vikings:
Passing: Kirk Cousins -- 351 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Dalvin Cook -- 61 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Adam Thielen -- 92 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Michael Pierce -- 2 sacks

Cardinals:
Passing: Kyler Murray -- 289 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Chase Edmonds -- 63 yards
Receiving: DeAndre Hopkins -- 83 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Chandler Jones -- 5 sacks

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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