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Assessing The Arizona Cardinals

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 5, 2011 – 6:47 am

Looking to log their first win of the season, the Vikings will head back to Mall of America Field this weekend to host a familiar foe in the 1-3 Arizona Cardinals. The Vikings and Cardinals aren’t in the same division, of course, but they’ve been regular adversaries since the 2006 season, with this weekend’s matchup marking the fourth in as many seasons and the sixth since 2006.

Another reason the Cardinals may seem familiar is because they’ve arrived at this point of the season in similar fashion to the Vikings. While the Cardinals have already collected their first victory, they’ve also lost 3 games and in all 3 games they’ve been in position to win. Arizona lost an 8-point 4th-quarter lead on the road to the Washington Redskins, they held a 10-6 lead at halftime in Week 3 before Seattle came back to beat them, and then last week the Cardinals surrendered 21 fourth-quarter points to squander a 10-point lead in the 2nd half. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Even more, Arizona’s struggles have manifested themselves on 3rd down offense, where they rank 28th with just a 29.8% conversion rate, and on passing defense, where they rank 26th in the NFL and are allowing 282.8 yards per game.

Overall on defense, the Cardinals rank 24th in yards allowed (388.3 per game) and tied for 12th in scoring (21.8 points per game), while offensively the Cardinals rank 18th in yards per game (352.5) and 19th in scoring (21.5 points per game). Also, Arizona is -1 in turnover ratio and has allowed 26 gains of 20+ yards (2nd-most in the NFL).

Through all of that, they’ve been in position to win each week and their average margin of defeat is the 3rd-smallest in the NFL at just 2.67, behind only Tennessee and Washington at 2.00 (the Vikings average margin of defeat is just 4.75 points).

So while Arizona comes in with an unimpressive record of 1-3, this is not an opponent to take lightly. Their offense features one of the best WRs in the NFL – Minnesota native Larry Fitzgerald – and then last week their running game came alive, as RB Beanie Wells carried the ball 27 times for 138 yards and 3 TDs. Arizona may not be lighting up the scoreboard, but they can be a balanced offense and they have an elite talent at WR, which will be a challenge for the Vikings secondary. Where the Vikings can strike against this offense is in the trenches. Look for either or both DE Jared Allen and DT Kevin Williams to win their matchup and either change the game or open up opportunities for others along the defensive line to make an impact.

Defensively, Arizona runs a 3-4 scheme and their front seven is pretty solid. Eight-year veteran DT Darnell Dockett is probably the best player up front for Arizona, and if not properly accounted for he can ruin the game for the opposing offense. DE Calais Campbell, who has 2.5 sacks this year, can flash and become a factor, and a sneaky-good player is LB Daryl Washington, who has 3 tackles for a loss, a sack and an INT on the season. In the secondary, CB Patrick Peterson is progressing into a very good player; he was their 1st-round pick last April. And you can’t forget about S Adrian Wilson, who is one of the League’s grittiest players and is the defensive leader.

One special teams note is that Arizona has just 5 touchbacks on 18 kickoffs (27.8%), which means there could be opportunities for Percy Harvin (and Lorenzo Booker) in the return game.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 56 Comments »


56 Responses to “Assessing The Arizona Cardinals”

  1. By Mike B on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    The Cards are no easy team to beat, but a remotivated Vikings Team and fans. I suspect a Victory on Sunday’s game. I unfortunately will have to record the game. My mom-in-law’s birthday party is at the same time. I will enjoy it later. Let’s go Vikings!! Baaarrrroooohhh

  2. By Jeffbleedspurple on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    These days for the Vikings no team is an easy team to beat! I am not to terribly concerned these days on watching the games to see us win, but more to see when we will be starting Ponder and getting rid of Berrian, pretty much the best thing to look forward to week to week.

  3. By Mike Wobschall on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Getting rid of Berrian will do nothing to help this team. I’d rather see Berrian and the offense find a way to get on track. When Berrian is involved, the Vikings offense is much better.

  4. By hippster on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    berrian= 2 catches per 4 games? berrian does’nt play for this team , never has.the sooner they let him walk the better.the cardinals will find a way to win this game because frazier will find a way to lose it,he could’nt coach his way out of a wet paper bag.this defence could’nt stop an old lady with a walker. its time to start handing out pink slips,if not now when 0-5 0-6 0-7 ??????

  5. By NovaScotiaVike on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    When is Berrian involved?

  6. By Jeffbleedspurple on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    WOW! can I have whatever it is your on Mike W? I respect you man, I would love to be where your at. But seriously how can you make that claim? Good God I would hate to see how this team would play if Berrian ever got hurt and the Vikes would have no choice, but to play someone else, if they are much better with him than without, we could be in very very serious trouble…. ohhh!! we already are.
    Mike W I know you been watching Vikings football long enough to know that sometimes to get on the right track you have to change tracks, 09 season! we changed tracks and brought in Favre and it was really only one track, it made a huge difference, 2010! same tracks, but the train was derailed. <<< HUH?? What did I say? Anyways! Berrian is not contributing, it takes no genius to see that, there is no way you can justify 2 catches in 4 games.

  7. By Jeffbleedspurple on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Now that I think about it, saying the team is better with Berrian than without says nothing to very little about our other WR’s, lets just rid of them, keep Berrian and we should be good.

  8. By Jeffbleedspurple on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Even a good WR that’s only getting 2 catches a game is considered not very good play making in most books.

  9. By NovaScotiaVike on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Berrian is a joke and defending him on the field is a hel1 of a lot easier than defending him in print.

  10. By Jeffbleedspurple on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    And Mike W: I do appreciate your writtings, it’s good to see positive things being written about the team and the positive things some of our players are doing, some fans with us being at 0-4 rather not see it, but I do, Thanks for your efforts.

  11. By 61vikings on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    If we can’t put a 30+ spot on the Cardinals’ defense, our offense really does suck!! The only concern here would be, can our defense stop there offense from putting up big numbers!! We need big games from AP, Percy, Shaincoe/Rudolph-double tight end looks, Jenkins, bench Berrian!! Defensively, we need big games from J. Allen, Winfield, Greenway- it’s time to step up after you got the big stew!! Move Winfield to free safety and have him roam the field and blitz as he did in the Philly game last year!! Let’s go Minny!! It’s time for a win!!

  12. By Webb on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Why not line harvin in the backfield with ap more often, he runs just as hard as ap. Take out some tight ends and put in 3 wideouts harvin needs to be on the field more its not rocket science.

  13. By Mike Wobschall on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    To make a catch, you have to be thrown the ball and it has to be accurate. McNabb and Berrina haven’t been able to connect a lot this year, I understand that. But I don’t think Berrian’s gotten a lot of opportunites, either. I’m not sure if it’s inaccuracy, bad routes, coverage, etc. That’s not for my to judge, that’s for teh coaches. But when Berrian is thrown the ball accurately, he performs. He led the NFL in yards per catch in 2008 (didn’t hear any of you trashing him then), and he had 9 catches for 100+ yards in the NFC Championship Game. So he knows how to play, he’s been productive, he still has the speed he needs (has gotten behind coverage downfield numerous times this year) and I believe in him.

  14. By vikeforever on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    the issue is not with Berrian, although I am not a Berrian fan by any stretch, but none of the recievers or tight ends are blazing trails either. The issue iw with a washed-up QB who carrys around his yesteryear stats but hasnt delivered anything he ranks almost dead last in all this season categories. Lets the how Berrian does with Ponder….Go Vikes

  15. By Mike on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Hey mike w if the Vikings lose this game if you were the coach would you ride Ponder for the rest of the season? Theirs a good chance that we get the 1st overall pick and you know Luck is number one he would’ve if he came out this past draft to, I don’t think it would be smart to pass him unless you have a good reason and if se don’t know what Ponder has to offer why not get the best player on the board. I just think it would be smart to start Ponder now I don’t see any reason why he’s not starting we are 0-4 its not like were winning games so him starting wouldn’t be hurting the team it would only improve his game and get him in sync with the other players. Were not winning with Mcnabb the vet it’d time to see if Ponder can be the future of our team so we won’t go through another t. jack era.

  16. By Zack on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    The problem is mcnabb and how he isn’t in sink with this offense. The lockout hurt us just like a lot of teams but really hurt us due to mcnabb not being able to have time to work with his teammates. We aren’t a bad team we just haven’t been able to finish when it counts. I hate the “could of’s and “would of’s” but we really could be 3-1 or 2-2 the least but we didn’t finish, simple as that.

    Another thing we really should of pointed out in this thread is why the vikings never resigned sidney rice. If we had him it would of allowed McNabb to have an easier transition into our pass game by simply being able to hit Rice on a nice go route when in need. Berrian isn’t a bad player they just don’t look for him in the pass game. For what reason I don’t know. I am really interested in seeing Ponder and with all these other rookies playing and not doing too bad, with his football IQ he will be a solid QB in my mind. They need to have a better offensive gameplan for mcnabb and need to focus on a run first type mentality and let donovan use the play action to his advantage.

  17. By SmileyStar on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    The problem is the system that the Vikings have installed. Go back and look over the first ten games of the 2009 season and compare that to the system we had before that season and after game 10 of the 2009 season. Favre controlled that offense for most of the 2009 season.

  18. By VegasVike on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Can berrian record 10 receptions this season ? Right now he is on track for 8! Let’s cheer him on, he had a couple of good games in his prime he should be able to get to 10 by week 16!

  19. By SmileyStar on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    @zack
    Berrian has been targeted 16 times through the first 4 games and only has 2 catches. While Jenkins has been targeted 18 times and has 16 catches.

    I agree that we need a better offensive gameplan, but I think the run first mentality or that the run game will carry the team is what is hurting us. We are not a threat in the passing game. In our system, they can stack 8 in the box and get to the QB or stuff AP. They’re not scared or worried about us going deep. When was the last time that the Vikings had a go route and catch play that netted 50+ yards? Our top 3 longs are 41, 42, and 34, Shiancoe, Rodulph and Aromashsodu.

  20. By Jeffbleedspurple on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    OK Mike! I will give you that much, but one of the two McNabb or Berrian has to be replaced, if not both! I am all for sitting McNabb and seeing if there can be some connection between Ponder and Berrian.

  21. By vikingrob22 on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Mike – your right.coaches are using Berrian on a limited basis and he provides the best speed downfield…Lets hope he catches whatever is thrown his way…I like Harvin,Jenkins,Aromashodu,Shianco,Rudolph and Boooker catching the ball and going downfield…Hoping McNabb gets on target so we get a win…

  22. By KLAWZ on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    How come none of these articles refer to any problems………..just talk about our few good players and how they are makin it happen only to come up short!!

    We have problems ……..hey lets solve them, and it starts in the offiices and trickles…… sh#t tsunamis, its way to the players on the field!

  23. By VegasVike on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    That’s how it rolls KLAWZ

  24. By Troutdaddy on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    The Cardinals have a history with the Vikes so this weeks game is always one to look forward to. As far as Berrian goes, I think Wobschall has a point about him being able to play, but the fact is that the wait for him to have any type of breakout game has gone to long. No one has faith in him. Chemistry with the QB means nothing without the results to back it up. So far the results speak for themselves. As far as from a fan perspective, I think it is safe to say that our hopes rest on Harvin, Shianco and our newbies to produce and until Berrian has that “amazing game” then the fans are not going to buy-off on anything with Berrian. Here is hoping that our Purple-pride is strong this weekend and that we have some folks step up to turn this 0 and 4 around. i bleed purple…. nuf said…

  25. By Justin F on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Berrian can’t catch much because McNabb sails the ball 10 ft above Berrian. I’m not saying Berrian is good, but many throws by McNabb ARE NOT CATCHABLE.

  26. By 3DONTHERADIO on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    @ Mike Wobschall – How much is Berrian { not Berrina } paying you anyway ?

  27. By animal26 on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    probably quite a bit for him to bring up the 2008 and 2009 seasons, but neglects to talk about how bad Berrian was, when he was our classified our #1 receiver in 2010 when he couldn’t have caught a cold if he tried. Berrian is washed up and shouldn’t be on this team

  28. By animal26 on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    to continue with this, Fran Tarkenton and Joe Theismann are saying the exact same thing we are about McNabb and to start ponder now!!!!!! Only reason I can think of Frazier continuing to play McNabb when he isn’t providing a spark to the team, is that he still has a man crush, from when he was a coach in philly.

  29. By DelawareDan on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Sorry to say it, but the vikes will lose again. They have no defense to stop Kolb and Fitz. Look for an Arizona win. 31 – 17.

    BTW, I am a die-hard vikings fan, but this team shows no willingness to play hard and win for 60 minutes.

  30. By truvikingfan on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Well unfortunatley minnesota is in a huge hole now that theyve lost 3 games they should of easily won based on how they played the first half and then decided to not show up against the worst team in the league and got beat because of it.But like Brian Robison said theyve all gotta play their hardest and maybe theyll be at 4-4 by the bye, they do play the cardinals bears and panthers, the vikes still gotta play the pack in that 4 game stretch but at least there at home and maybe by then theyll have a little momentum. Ill never count out my team like a lot of you so called fans and im tired of everyone outside of the fanbase hating on minnesota

  31. By truvikingfan on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    But im still extremely dissapointed with the 0-4 start when I know this team can hang with good teams. So cmon Vikings I need ya this week, get a win !!!

  32. By Viking Joe on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Get a win Vikings, make us all jump for joy, it’s not like they are getting crushed, win this sunday!!!! SKOL VIKINGS !!!!!!!!11

  33. By Sir Greasy Panda on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Im just mad that the odds are that we are not going to make the playoffs, its week 5 and we are already out of the race. Even last year we still had a chance into the halfway mark but fell off. The Vikings use to always be in the hunt and it was so exciting to watch them play the last stretch of the season even if we didnt make the playoffs. I just hate that we have no chance, and I have to only focus on fantasy football because my Vikings are already out of the picture.

  34. By vikingsfan on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    haha mcnabb starting=automatic loss now ponder starting= a chance to win lmao

  35. By Joe C on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    If the Vikings can’t get motivated to play the K.C Chefs (yes chefs) why would you expect a better effort this week? This team is so horrible that they have replaced the LIONS at the bottom of the entire NFL!!!! Sad state of affairs – funny thing is Brad Childress and Brett Farve are watching these games in there underwear laughing like giddy school girls. Sad Sad Sad

  36. By wabuta on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    finally– I’ll get a win–a Vikings fan in AZ

  37. By Kurt on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Mike W. keeps blocking my posts cuz i think we need a new writer he sugarcoats everything

  38. By OLD SCHOOL on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Go cards! 0-5!!!

    We want to know if Ponder is it or not! No since wasting our season next year finding out! This is the perfect season to try him out and if he isn’t the “ONE” then we draft a high end QB…….with the #1 or #2 pick in the draft!

    THIS IS NOT HARD TO FIGURE OUT!

  39. By Joe C on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Are you guys crazy – do you want to get Ponder killed? The only thing he will learn if he replaces Donovan is how to run for his life !!!!

  40. By PURPLEHAZE on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    I applaud the people with a positive attitude for the rest of the season. Unfortunately, with 6 division games against the reigning superbowl champs and two other pretty good teams, I am not so optimistic. I have somewhat defended McNabb because personally I don’t see the inexperience of Ponder or Webb making a difference. Not with the oline play and the coaching so far this year. I say let McNabb play this week. If we don’t get a W, make a change. Get some experience for the future. This season is shot. I lost any respect for Frazier when he let AP and the crowd talk him out of the field goal against Detroit and then didn’t give Peterson the ball. To me that shows a lack of confidence in your decision making. Peterson is one of the if not the best backs in the league but the coach has to have control. Frazier does not.

  41. By joe on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    mcnabb should come out and ponderr in

  42. By Kurt on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Mike W. SUCKS

  43. By SmileyStar on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    @puprlehaze

    I thought the same thing!! I didn’t want the field goal, I wanted a touchdown. When they snapped that ball and AD wasn’t running the ball, I just hung my head, who in their right mind would not put the ball in AD’s Hands.
    It’s kind of like kick returns, You just know that AD wanted that ball, but Frazier wouldn’t let him have it.

  44. By saddy on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    I dont see us winning this, kolb Fitzgerald will put up a lot of points

  45. By used2purplefailure on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Here is to hoping the vikes can manage to not only manage to keep playing McNabb and BB, but go 0-16 AND get the #1 pick… then blow that pick on a kicker before they move. Now THAT would be fun to watch!

  46. By David P on Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Mike,

    I disagree. BB has been targeted 16 times and has two catches. Yes McNabb is part of the problem but I have recorded and watched all 4 games and when I see the ball going to BB there is always a defender on him. No seperation at all. If you are a number 1 receiver you should be able to get seperation from a DB that had their first start last week. But Mike you are paid to put that spin on so go ahead and spin. I have a bad feeling about this weekend. If you cannot beat the worst team in the NFL (chiefs) then how can you beat the packers, bears and others. This team and coaching staff stinks and needs a revamping. I am praying for 4-4 at the bye but that is going to be a stretch.

  47. By Old School on Oct 6, 2011 | Reply

    S$%^ ! FIRE FRAZIER FOR NOT DOING WHAT IS RIGHT FOR THIS TEAM IN THE FUTURE AND THAT’S PLAYING PONDER!

  48. By Joe on Oct 6, 2011 | Reply

    A.P. needs to hit the corners.Open field.!! I’m not sure why he keeps hitting a line with NO holes.Mcnabb has got to hit the W.R.’s in the #’s.His accuracy stinks for a Q.B. of his tenure.I wouldn’t mind at all seeing Ponder in there.Soon,before this season is shot!!

  49. By Troy on Oct 6, 2011 | Reply

    He is still starting becasue McNabb was his choice and its clear he is not man enough to admit he made a mistake!!!!

    I dont care how much time McNabb has to throw, he will have one good throw for every 5 bad ones. If its over 10 yards forget about it, he cant throw.

    Please lets move on Frazier, were not going to make the playoffs so lets start playing the other guys and see what we have.

  50. By absaroka2 on Oct 6, 2011 | Reply

    I wonder if Frazier ever thinks about the thousands of fans that want McNone benched & Ponder in? Hey Frazier, do you realize those fans are retired NFL players, also people that play and have played the game, people that love the game, people that want winners & champs!! Was ponder so bad in the pre-season beating Houston 28-0? Is that why he’s benched? I bet even some of your players think you are a “sandwich short at the picnic” by playing the old man McNone! Frazier, listenup!! Forget your buddy-buddy deal with McNone & think about the fans, Mr. Wilf, and YOUR JOB!!

  51. By Kurt on Oct 6, 2011 | Reply

    FIRE MIKE W!! He blows I could write better articles than him. He Lies and Sugarcoats!

  52. By vikeforever on Oct 7, 2011 | Reply

    I would not worry about Berrian in the game and neither does their defense. I not expecting the Vikes to win any games with McNAbb. SO,I haven’t been disappointed because there is no expectations to win when he is in there. So, how many losses will it take?

  53. By tommykramerfan on Oct 7, 2011 | Reply

    mcnabb sucks, berrian sucks, its time to move on and give ponder the ball, oh yea-and frazier sucks too

  54. By klwedge on Oct 8, 2011 | Reply

    If the vikings lose they still are sticking with whats broke ( Mcnabb )what a joke! I say play Pounder vs the Da Bears an the Packs.That in it self would put him up to speed.foot ball isnt a coward sport is it?Heck it might show he is the man for the job mcnabb is clearly is not…

  55. By klwedge on Oct 8, 2011 | Reply

    Im burned out on the subject of frazire an mcnabb ,BB every one no’s what needs to be done.send them packings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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