To get things started in Week 11 action at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings won the coin toss and chose to defer to the second half, meaning that the Arizona Cardinals got the football first. For the first time since September of 2012, a Vikings' kickoff was handled by someone other than Blair Walsh, as new kicker Kai Forbath put his foot to the leather and kicked it deep. The ball went through the end zone for a touchback, meaning that Carson Palmer and company started from the 25-yard line.
Arizona got off to a bad start with a false start on the first play from scrimmage, giving them 1st-and-15. Arizona couldn't get anything going from there, as they went three-and-out on their first possession, bringing Drew Butler on to punt. He lofted one towards Marcus Sherels, who was back after missing a couple of games, and he made his presence known quickly. He got 23 yards on the return to put the Vikings into Arizona territory immediately at the 44-yard line.
Sam Bradford went to work quickly, finding Adam Thielen on a nice 22-yard gain down to the Arizona 20. Jerick McKinnon then got a nice little run down to the 12, and the Vikings were rolling. It appeared that the Vikings had a touchdown pass from Bradford to Kyle Rudolph, but it was called back because of a hands to the face penalty on right tackle Jeremiah Sirles. Minnesota recovered quickly, as on 3rd-and-6 Bradford found Thielen in the end zone for a score. The play was initially ruled out of bounds, but Mike Zimmer threw the challenge flag. The review reversed the call. . .properly. . .to a 16-yard touchdown catch, putting the Vikings ahead, 6-0. Kai Forbath came on for the extra point, and he made it! HE MADE IT! That gave Minnesota a 7-0 lead.
The extra point also got the loudest round of applause you'll ever hear for an extra point. Not sure why.
Forbath's second extra point went for a touchback as well, setting Arizona up at their own 25 again. It looked like the Vikings were going to force another three-and-out, but the returning Captain Munnerlyn was flagged for a hold on Larry Fitzgerald on third down, giving the visitors a fresh set of downs. A couple of runs by David Johnson gave Arizona another first down at their own 43, and Palmer then found the venerable Fitzgerald for a 16-yard gain into Minnesota territory at the 41. Palmer then found Darren Fells for another big gain, this one for 22 yards down to the Minnesota 19-yard line.
Andre Ellington then carried the ball to the 12 on first down, and Tom Johnson stuffed David Johnson for a loss to bring up another third down. Palmer found Malcolm Floyd for a conversion to the 3-yard line to set up first-and-goal for Arizona. Two carries later, David Johnson found himself in the end zone for a very solid answering score for Arizona. Chandler Catanzaro was true on the extra point, and with five minutes remaining in the opening quarter the score was tied at seven.
Catanzaro's kickoff went for a touchback, so the Vikings started their second possession from their own 25. They got a quick first down on a run by McKinnon and a pass to Thielen, but the offense stalled out from there and Jeff Locke was brought on to punt for the first time today. Locke did an outstanding job, blasting one that John Brown could only return to the 12, and a penalty on the Cardinals pushed them inside their own 10-yard line to the 6.
David Johnson picked up 30 yards on three carries to start Arizona's next drive, and as we move to the second quarter of play, the Cardinals are looking at a 1st-and-10 at their own 36-yard line.
After fifteen minutes of football in Minneapolis, the Vikings and the Cardinals are tied at 7-7. Come in and hang out with us for the second quarter of play!