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2010 Regular Season
CARDINALS & VIKINGS PREVIEW

  • When: Sun. 11/7 - 1:00 pm ET

  • Satellite Radio 11/7 -  1:00 pm - SIRIUS Ch TBD

  • Televised: Sun. 111/7 -  1:00 pm ET (DirecTV Sunday Ticket  Channel TBD)

Overview
Last Game
Meet the Vikes
Cardinals Roster
Cardinals vs. Minnesota Matchups

 Overview

Late Breaking -

Cardinal Injuries: Haggans is doubtful. Beanie (despite claims that his knee problem was due to an allergic reaction to meidcation) is still listed as questionable. Listed as Probable are Doucet, Breaston, Iwebema, Branch and W. Davis.

Minnesota Injuries: Not classified but at top of injuriy list : Berrian. Questionable: Harvin, Walker. Probable: Favre, Cook, A Allen, Leber, Sheppared, Sullivan, P Williams, DeGeare

Cards fly into "The Land of Drama" to play an early Sunday game against the Vikings. In addition to getting the "early game", many Cardinal fans will also gain an extra hour of sleep (due to the switch from  Daily Savings to Standard Time). There will also be the NYC Marathon (whose winners should be crossing the finish line at or close-to- the point where it runs up the back of the Cardinal-Viking kickoff. We call Minnesota "The Land of Drama" because of Brett Favre & his assorted injuries and, more recently, the non-waiver/waiver of Randy Moss. The Minnesota lockerrom is said to be in dissarray, however this can cut both ways - it can demoralize and  divide the team or it can bring everyone together. Frankly, rather than spend our time watching the circus. I hope Cardinal players are focusing on tightening up various aspects of their game and zeroing in on what they need to do to beat the Vikings.

Bottom line - This figures to be a matchup between (1) a very talented but disappointing team (whom many considered to be a Super Bowl contender) with possibly insurmountable morale problems vs. (2) a fairly talented but QB-challenged team trying to regain its confidence and get its act together to eke out a win in a suddenly very competitive division.

 Last Game:
Vikes got thumped by the Pats, 28 - 18, dropping them to 2 & 5 in a tough division. Brett Favre was carted off the field late in the game (jaw contusion) and, a day or two later, Brad Childress waived WR Randy Moss (who had been acquired in a trade with NE four weeks earlier). The Vikes were in the game right up to the 7:26 mark in the 4Q - down by 3. But their defense couldn't stop Brady from engineering a 13 play scoring drive that gave NE breathing space with a 10-point lead and only left the Vikes with 1:56 left to work with.

First Quarter

  • NE started from its own 18 and did a lot of dinking and dunking before punting from their own 38. Ball was downed on the Minnesota 11. Six of the next 8 Viking plays involved Adrian Peterson (as a runner or receiver). Vikes got as far as their own 42 before Luwe punted into the end zone. NE went 3  out. Vikes ran off 11 plays and moved to the NE 1-yard line as the quarter ended. 1st Quarter Score: New England 0 - Minnesota 0.

Second Quarter

  • Peterson ran it in from the one.  Minnesota 7  - New England 0.

  • Pats started out from their own 25 and passes from Brady to Branch (+21) and B. Tate (+32) helped set up a 3-yard Woodhouse touchdown run out of the wildcat formation. Minnesota 7  - New England 7.

  • Kickoff was out of bounds. Vikes started from their own 40. Illegal formation and grounding penalties helped derail the Minnesota possession and they punted from the NE 41. Ball was fair caught at the NE 8 and they went 3 & out. Vikes got the ball back on their own 42 with 6:21 left til halftime. A 19 yard pass to Harvin along with three passes of 8 - 9 yards each moved the Vikes to the Pat 10. A 10-yard completion from Favre to Gerhart moved the ball inside the one. But the Vikes were unable to punch it in - they "went" for it on 4th down and came up short. Brady took 2 knees and the half was over. Halftime Score: Minnesota 7  - New England 7.

Third Quarter

  • Harvin returned the 2nd half KO from his own 15 to the Viking 27. Completions from Favre to Shianco (+17) and Peterson (+25) & (+10) put Minnesota on the NE 5 where they had to settle for a 24-yard Longwell Field Goal. Drive took 11 plays. Minnesota 10  - New England 7.

  • It was here that the tide turned - NE started from their own 20, and on the 4th play of the series, Brady hit B Tate for a 65-yard scoring pass. New England14 - Minnesota 10 .

  • On the next Viking possession, a false start flag on Loadholt forced Minnesota to go 3 & out. NE got the ball back on their own 9-yard line. They played it close-to-the-vest and went 3 & out. Vikes got the ball back at midfield, but on the second play of the series, Favres pass intended for Harvin was picked off by McCourty who returned it from the NE 26 to the Viking 37. The four-play NE series went as follows: Green-Ellis (+11) & (+3); Woodhouse (+10) and Green-Ellis off left tackle for +13 and a touchdown.  New England21 - Minnesota 10 .

  • Kickoff was fair caught at the Viking 29. Minnesota went 3 & out. NE started out from their own 10 and ran one play to their own 16 as the quarter ended. 3rd Quarter Score: New England21 - Minnesota 10 .

Fourth Quarter

  • Aside from a 27-yard completion to their TE (Hernandez), NE stayed fairly conservative and eventually punted from the Viking 40 into the end zone. Three penalties (two on NE/one on Favre for grounding) extended a 9-play 80-yard TD drive capped by a one-yard TD completion from Tavaris Jackson to Tahi. (Favre was injured one play prior to the scoring pass). A 2-point attempt (pass from Jackson to Harvin) was successful. New England21 - Minnesota 18 .

  • NE started from their own 20 with 7:26 left in the game. Brady engineered an 80-yard, 13-play touchdown drive that iced the game drained all but 1:56 off the clock. Key plays: A 16-yard completion to Woodhouse, a 26-yard  run by Green-Ellis and the 2-yard scoring run by Green-Ellis.   New England 28 - Minnesota 18 .

  • Minnesota started from their own 20 with 1:56 left to play & no time-outs left. Jackson immediately got sacked for minus-10 yards, but on the very next play, scrambled for +33. They managed to get to midfield, but time ran out after a 23-yard Jackson-to-Gerhardt completion. Final Score: New England 28 - Minnesota 18 .

Highlights/Lowlights

  • The two teams were fairly evenly matched statistically, with the Vikes owning a slight edge in passing yardage and total yardage.

  • Vikes gave up one sack. Their defense failed to sack Brady.

  • Favre had one pass picked off. Defense failed to interecept the ball at all.

  • Vikes were penalized 5 times.

  • Neither team fumbled.

  • Vikes won time-of-possession: 35:08 to 24:52

  • Vikes ran the ball 28 times/ passed 38 times.

  • Peterson ran 25 times for 92 yards.

  • Viking run defense allowed NE to gain 122 yards on 27 carries.

  • Favres QB Rating was 80.1. Jackson's was 122.2 (off just 6 passing attempts).

  • Harvin (6 catches), Gerhard (5), Peterson (5) & Shianco (4) were the leading Viking receivers. (Note - 3 of the 4 leaders were not wideouts).

  • Greenway was the leading Vike tackler with11. ( Henderson had 6, Abdullah 5 and 3 others were tied with 40.

  • Jared Allen,  P. Williams and Leber each had a tackle for a loss. Kevin Williams, Edwards anf Guyion each had a QB hurry.

 Meet the Vikes
Like the Cardinals (who are still experience some flux - mainly on offense, the Vikes present a series of question-marks: Will Favre continue to start? Or will it be Jackson until Favre gets better? In what ways does Jackson represent a threat vs. that of Favre? What will the absence of Randy Moss mean for the productivity of Harvin. Will Berrian re-emerge as a top receiver. In the absence of Moss, will the Viking running game re-establish itself? What about lockerroom chemistry?  (Players in the midst of a morale crisis or turmoil can either all apart or pull together. Which will it be)?

 Quarterbacks
04 Favre, Brett QB 6-2 222 41 20 Southern Mississippi
07 Jackson, Tarvaris QB 6-2 225 27 5 Alabama State
14 Webb, Joe QB 6-4 220 23 0 UAB

Favre has seen it all and done it all. There is no situation on the field where he'd be unable to pull the proverbial rabbit from his helmet and turn a sure loser of a play into a touchdown. But there's the ankle (which may take away his mobility) and now the jaw. Favres only potential weakness is the tendency to force the ball into tight windows and get intercepted (but those high-risk throws pay off in TD's more often than they do picks). If Favre can't go, the Vikes are pretty comfortable with Jackson (who can beat you with his feet when no one's open). Either QB represents a challenge.


 Running Backs
28 Peterson, Adrian RB 6-1 217 25 4 Oklahoma
32 Gerhart, Toby RB 6-0 231 23 0 Stanford

34 Young, Albert RB 5-10 209 25 1 Iowa
38 Tahi, Naufahu FB 6-0 254 29 5 Brigham Young

Peterson is HOF material, but hasn't been used as frequently this year. There has been a tendency for AP to put the ball on the ground more than the coaches would like. The rookie, Gerhart, is a big back who's smart, tough and can block and catch as well as run. Tahi cought a TD pass last Sunday.


 Wide Receivers
87 Berrian, Bernard WR1 6-1 185 29 7 Fresno State
1
7 Lewis, Greg WR 6-0 185 30 8 Illinois
12 Harvin, Percy WR 5-11 184 22 2 Florida
85 Camarillo, Greg WR 6-1 190 28 5 Stanford
19 Baskett, Hank WR 6-4 220 28 5 New Mexico

No Randy Moss - which means Harvin will bo back to being double-covered. Berrian also figures to re-emerge as a go-to receiver. Camarillo and Baskett are pretty good though not great.

 Tight Ends
81 Shiancoe, Visanthe TE 6-4 240 30 8 Morgan State
40 Kleinsasser, Jim TE 6-3 272 33 12 North Dakota
83 Dugan, Jeff FB/TE 6-4 258 29 7 Maryland

Shiancoe is the receiver; Kleinsasser the blocker (but that doesn't mean that they won't throw to Kleinsasser or use Shiancoe in the blocking game). 

 Offensive Line
74 McKinnie, Bryant LT 6-8 335 31 9 Miami
76 Hutchinson, Steve LG 6-5 313 33 10 Michigan

65 Sullivan, John C 6-4 301 25 3 Notre Dame
68 Cooper, Jon C 6-2 291 24 0 Oklahoma
64 Herrera, Anthony RG 6-2 315 30 7 Tennessee
6
2 Cook, Ryan T/G 6-6 328 27 5 New Mexico
71 Loadholt, Phil RT 6-8 343 24 2 Oklahoma

Solid unit. The left side of the Viking O-line (McKinnie, Hutchison and Sullivan) are as good as it gets. Cook is solid over on the right. Loadholt (who seemed raw and clumsy-footed leading up to the draft a year ago) has settled into the RT spot.


 Defensive Line

91 Edwards, Ray LDE 6-5 268 25 5 Purdue
96 Robison, Brian DE 6-3 259 27 4 Texas
90 Evans, Fred DT 6-4 305 27 5 Texas State - San Marcos
93 Williams, Kevin LDT 6-5 311 30 8 Oklahoma State
73 Kennedy, Jimmy DT 6-4 320 31 8 Penn State

94 Williams, Pat RDT 6-3 317 38 14 Texas A&M
98 Guion, Letroy DT 6-4 303 23 3 Florida State
7
2 DeGeare, Chris DE/OLB 6-4 325 23 0 Wake Forest
69 Allen, Jared RDE 6-6 270 28 7 Idaho State
97 Griffen, Everson DE 6-3 273 22 0 Southern Cal

In terms of its reputation, this unit is underperforming badly. Their pass rushing whizzes (Allen and Edwards) aren't sacking QB's very often, and The Williams Boys (& backup Kennedy) aren't as impenetrable vs. the run as they've been in the past.

 Linebacker

52 Greenway, Chad OLB 6-2 242 27 5 Iowa

59 Farwell, Heath LB 6-0 235 28 6 San Diego State
55 Onatolu, Kenny LB 6-2 225 28 2 Nebraska-Omaha
56 Henderson, E.J. MLB 6-1 245 30 8 Maryland
54 Brinkley, Jasper LB 6-1 252 25 2 South Carolina
51 Leber, Ben OLB 6-3 244 31 9 Kansas State
50 Henderson, Erin OLB 6-3 244 24 3 Maryland

Greenway leads the team in tackles. Leber is solid on the other side. We 've always loved EJ Henderson since his days as a Terp. Keep an eye on Brinkley and Onatolu.

Secondary

 
Secondary

26 Winfield, Antoine LCB 5-9 180 33 12 Ohio State
31 Cook, Chris CB 6-2 212 23 0 Virginia
21 Allen, Asher CB 5-9 194 22 2 Georgia
29 Sheppard, Lito RCB 5-10 194 29 9 Florida

41 Walker, Frank CB 5-11 200 29 7 Tuskegee
39 Abdullah, Husain SS 6-0 204 25 3 Washington State
25 Johnson, Tyrell S 6-0 207 25 3 Arkansas State
33 Sanford, Jamarca S 5-10 200 25 2 Mississippi
20 Williams, Madieu FS 6-1 203 29 7 Maryland
37 Frampton, Eric S 5-11 205 26 4 Washington State

If there's a weakness on this team, it may be here. Certainly Winfield and Sheppard are solid at both corners, but there's not much substitution, nickel or dime depth behind them. Madieu Williams is solid at FS. We don't know much about Abdullah or the other safeties on this squad.

 Special Teams
08 Longwell, Ryan K 6-0 200 36 14 California
05 Kluwe, Chris P/H 6-4 215 28 6 UCLA
46 Loeffler, Cullen LS 6-5 241 29 7 Texas
12 Harvin, Percy KR/WR 5-11 184 22 2 Florida
85 Camarillo, Greg PR/WR 6-1 190 28 5 Stanford

Longwell and Kluwe are reliable in the kicking and punting game. Harvin is a home-run threat every time he touches the ball. Camarillo is decent.

 Coaching Staff
 
Brad Childress  Head Coach
Darrell Bevil Offensive Coordinator
Leslie Frazer Defensive Coordinator
Brian Murphy Special Teams Coordinator
Childress (who has been criticized for letting Favre dictate if and when he'll practice or start and, now what seems like the precipitous of release of Moss - apparently without the knowledge of one or more key front office people and to the shock of several Viking players) may be in trouble. Should the Vikes make a midyear move, the popular Frazer would be the logical choice (especially since, in the midst of an uncapped year, he'd bring continuity to the team within the context of the expected turnover in and turmoil of personnel).

 Minnesota Stats
Green means good stats/Red means bad stats/Black means average stats.


  Vikings Opponents
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS 129 121
FIRST DOWNS (RUSHING-PASSING-BY-PENALTY) 49-68-12 44-73-4
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS 36/90 37/90
FOURTH DOWN CONVERSIONS 4/9 3/5
TOTAL OFFENSIVE YARDS 2,321 2,212
OFFENSE (PLAYS-AVERAGE YARDS) 434-5.3 421-5.3
TOTAL RUSHING YARDS 942 717
RUSHING (PLAYS-AVERAGE YARDS) 202-4.7 183-3.9
TOTAL PASSING YARDS 1,379 1,495
PASSING (COMP-ATT-INT-AVG) 130-217-11-6.8 147-232-6-6.6
SACKS 6.0 15.0
FIELD GOALS 6/6 6/9
TOUCHDOWNS 16 18
TOUCHDOWNS (RUSHING-PASSING-RETURNS-DEFENSIVE) 7-8-1-0 6-9-0-3
TIME OF POSSESSION 30:34 29:25
TURNOVER RATIO -7
  • Vike statistics are pretty much in line with their opponents with the following exceptions:

    • They run and stop the run better (4.7 ypc vs 3.9  for their opponents).

    • They run the ball (202 times) slightly less than they pass 217 times)

    • Viking QB's have been sacked 15 times. (Minnesota has sacked opposing QB's just 6 times)

    • Favre has a 69.8 Passer Rating (off a 59.7% completion percentage, 7 TD's and 11 Interceptions).

    • Tavaris Jackson has only thrown the ball 6 times this season.

    • Adrian Peterson has gained 776 yards (4.7 ypc) and scored 6 TD's.

    • Unlike past years (where Chester Taylor saw plenty of action) the next highest carries were by Toby Gerhardt (17 attempts for 57 yards)

    • Percy Harvin (31 catches for 393 yards and 3 TD's - longest gain:37 yards) leads receivers in catches. A RB (Peterson) is next with 22 catches followed by a TE (Shianco) with 20. Randy Moss (who, if reports are true, is gone) was 4th with 13 catches and 2 TD's. Berrian (who'd be expected to pick up the slack from Moss unless the Vikes activate Sidney Rice)  has 9 catches.

    • Longwell is 6 for 6 (one outside the forty).

    • Viking punt returners averaged 6.5 ypr vs. a very stingy 3.2 ypr given up by the Minnesota punt coverage unit.

    • Top tacklers are Greenway (74), Henderson (47), Winfield (45), Williams (39) and Abdullah (3) Jared Allen (22) ranks 8th on the team in tackles - highest of any Minnesota lineman.

    • Ray Edwards leads the team in sacks with just 1.5.

    • EJ Henderson leads the team in interceptions with 2.

    • In the Take-away Dept. Minnesota intercepted 6 passes (while their QB's were intercepted 11 times). They must have lost 2 more fumbles than they recovered in order to have their Turnover Ratio come out at minus-7.

Cardinal Roster

QB - 03 Anderson, 06 Hall,  03 Anderson, 19 Skelton,
Both Anderson and Hall looked more comfortable and compatible with the Cardinal receiving corps, but neither looked 100% cocksure of that they were doing out there. Hall's 2 interceptions cost us 14 points in our 3 point loss to the Buccos. Anderson also threw 2 picks, but one of those was the result of a decleating hit on LSH after the catch. For the Cards to outfight their division rivals for a playoff spot, our QB's will need to cut down their turnovers by 50% and ratchet up their play by 10 - 15% (Do-able but not anywhere near definite).

RB - 26, Wells, 34 Hightower, 31 Wright, 36 Stephens-Howling  (KR/PR),
Wells showed he could bend the pile between the tackles, but also whiffed on a block whch, in turn, caused Hall to throw an interception>Stephens-Howling (who continues to surprise us all in all areas of the game - running, receiving and returning - took a ferocious hit late in the TB game and may not be ready to play in Minnesota. Most of THT's usual reps went to Beanie last week. Wright has been only so-so of late.

FB - 45 Mau'ia
The Invisible Man (but apparently is getting the job done).

WR - 15 Breaston, 80 Doucet,  12 Roberts, 
WR -11 Fitzgerald, 18 Komar, 14 S Williams,
Fitz resembled is good old self for the first time last week. In his first start since being injured, Breaston still had some rust to shake off - making a few plays and whiffing on others (most notably, a sure TD catch).

TE - 89 Patrick, 83 Spach,  81 Dray
Spach stood out for his basic gritty play last Sunday. I didn't notice much of Patrick or Dray.

LT- 75 L Brown,
73 Bridges
LG-
66 Faneca,  70 Hadnot
OC-
63Sendlein,  (70 Hadnot), 62 Claxton,
RG- 76 Lutui
RT 
72 Keith
Played better in both the run game and pass pro, but still needs to ibe more consistent. (Levi is good for getting badly beaten at least once or twice per game). QB's are still getting stepped on by Faneca as they pull out from under center.

DE - 93 Campbell, 79 Iwebema
NT - 97 B Robinson,  92 D Williams, 98 Watson,
DT - 90 Dockett, 78 Branch
It's often hard to distinguish between the O-line and LB's when passing out credit or blame for un defense. One thing we did see was a lot of Josh Freeman rolling out to his right all alone under zero pressure. Where was Calais Campbell (or was it Branch)? Why wasn't he or someone else containing Freeman? With Dockett, you always get maximum effort, but with this, you often also get a couple of roughness penalties or a missed tackle. Last week, LeGarrette Blount spun out of D-Dock's grasp in the backfield and turned an apparent loss into a 45 yard run that proved instrumental in getting the Bucs off the hook deep in their own territory and instead making the Cards go the entire length of the field on their final drive that ran out of time. Alan Branch has played well outside in rotation. 

OLB1 - 55 Porter
ILB  51 Lenon, 54 Hayes
ILB- 58 D Washington,
56 Walker,
OLB2 - 59 W Davis, 50 Schofield, 53 Haggans,  
The return of Hayes helped in the TB game. Davis held up well as a replacement for Haggans. Lenon and Washington have been solid inside. Porter sacked Freeman for minus-11 at a key point in the TB game.

RCB - 28 Toler, 20 Jefferson,  37 McBride,
LCB-
29 Rodgers-Cromartie, 27 Adams   
SS-
  24 Wilson,
 22 Ware, 41 Abdullah,
40 Tillman
FS- 25 Rhodes,  
49 Rash Johnson
AWe like our starting four DB's, but Toler and DRC got beat deep too often last week, and we wonder whether both corners could use some help deep from the safetes. Like Dockett, A-Dub will give you 60-minutes of solid, physical football, but with this, you will have to accept more than the normal share of interference and roughness miscues. Rhodes has turned out to be more than the playmaker Antrel Rolle was (plus - he's headier).

K-04 Feely
P- 05 B Graham,

H - 05  B Graham
LS-
82 Leach
KR -
37Stephens-Howling

PR
- 12 Roberts, 18 Komar, 15 Breaston, 37Stephens-Howling
Feely (though seldom challenged by the need or urge to kick long FG's) has been solid. Graham has lapsed into the habit of shanking one punt per contest, marring all the other phenominal boots downed inside the opponents' 10 - 15 yard lines. LSH has been constantly stellar returning KO's. Roberts looked more secure last week. Coverage teams have been workmanlike and solid.

     Cardinals vs. Vikes Matchups

Viking  Passing Attack vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
Will we face Favre? Or will we face the more mobile (& Vick-like) Jackson? If it's Favre, our secondary better stay disciplined (because he'll find and exploit any weakness in coverage). If it's Jackson, we'd be well advised to do a better job of containing against rollouts in either direction than we did last Sunday vs. Freeman. The absence of Moss will remove the need to double-cover or rotate toward the #1 Viking WR,making it easier for Harvin or Berrian to have huge days. The Childress west coast passing offense puts the ball in the hands of both the TE (Shiancoe) and RB (Peterson or Gerhardt) thereby keeping our safeties (A-Dub and Rhodes) and LB's occupied. Vike QB's have been sacked an average of roughly 2 times per game. Cardinal pass rush - though energetic - has been spotty in effectiveness from game to game. 

Viking  Running Attack vs. Cardinal Run Defense
Teams seeking to re-establish the run seem to get healthy when up against the Cardinal run-defense. It's not as though we're 100% awful, but we do have our moments when we let our guard down and then get gashed (as we did when Blount hurdled Kerry last Sunday vs. Tampa). The Vikes have a Top 3 RB in Peterson, backed up by a good-looking thumper/pass catcher in Gerhart. Cards seem to look better against the run when D Williams and Branch are present on the D-line. To stop Minnesota, the Cards should follow the lead of other successful NFL teams and take away the run (& make them beat us through the air).

(Note - with the Viking passing attack depleted (i.e. Hurt Favre, Missing Moss,  Berrian and Harvin Iffy) the logical Viking option would be to dish the ball a lot to Peterson. However - given past Cardinal problems handling big RB's, don't be surprised if you see Childress dialing up heavy doses of Toby Gerhart.

Cardinal Passing Attack vs. Viking  Pass Defense
Both Hall and Anderson seemed more comfortable with our WR's the last time out, but it still wasn't good enough - Hall threw two really ill-timed interceptions that cost us 14 points & the ball game. Anderson's interception inside the red zone late in the game cost us the opportunity to either tie or win the game. Anderson moved the team better than Hall and will probably start. If either or both could just protect the ball better, we have enough surrounding talent to win with them. Vikes have been vulnerable against the pass this year (only sacking opposing QB's 6 times). Although both Jared Allen and Ray Edwards can get after the passer and Leslie Frazer is considered a defensive wizard, either Cardinal QB should have a decent amount of time to locate and throw to a healthier Fitz, Breaston and Doucet. Although Winfield and Sheppard are good cover corners, there's not much depth behind them. Look for the Cards to attempt to exploit this with multi-receiver looks.

Cardinal Running Attack vs. Viking  Defense
Viking run defenders have limited opposing runners to 3.9 ypc, and the Williams Boys in the middle, backed by Chad Greenway, EJ Henderson and Ben Leber are formidable against the run. Nevertheless, the Cards should not desert the running game - they need the threat of the run in order to set up pass plays off play action. And besides, we believe that - sooner not later - Beanie will have a bust-out games. Ball security is still an issue with both Wells and THT. (Small in name only) LaRod Stephens-Howling (who took a ferocious hit in the TB game) says he's fine, but he may still be operating with tender ribs.

Special Teams
Harvin is a threat to go all the way every time he touches the ball. Graham and Feely must be super-careful to keep the ball away from him. Other than that, the Cards match up pretty flat-even with the Vikes in the kicking, punting and return games (with LSH making a strong case for being considered closer to Harvin in talent than most folks realize).

Intangibles
Crowd noise in Minnesota (although it may be muted in light of the Favre and Randy Moss mellowdramas along with the 2 & 5 season). It's hard to gauge the collective morale on Team Viking, but, at the very least, the Favre and Moss thingies have to represent a distraction. At 3 & 4 (in 3rd place in their division) the Cardinals' backs are against the wall. In these circumstances, some teams rise to the occasions while others cave in to the pressure. Cards still need to feel more confident with either Anderson or Hall behind center. (They seem to be moving in the right direction, but they're not there yet).

 Final Word
This game represents a huge opportunity, given the turmoil over in the Twin-Cities. Will the Cardinals take advantage of it?

 
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