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Vikings, Cardinals: Three things to watch and five predictions

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Hopefully this one isn’t the Bills game 2.0

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings get set to face the Arizona Cardinals in a Sunday afternoon contest. The Vikings are coming off a confidence boosting win against the Philadelphia Eagles, while Arizona found its first win of the season last week against the San Francisco 49ers.

Arizona has competed with teams over the past few weeks. The Cards lost to Chicago 16-14 and Seattle 20-17. Here is this week’s three things and five predictions:

Will Dalvin Cook get back on track (If he plays)?

I think so, this may be the best case scenario game for Cook to play in. Arizona (1-4) doesn’t have the best rush defense. The Cardinals have allowed its opponents to rush for around 140 yards a game. However, the defense has only allowed two carries to go for over 20 yards. Arizona has also allowed eight rushing touchdowns.

Obviously Cook has been dealing with a hamstring injury, but besides that, it seems like he hasn’t been able to get back to old form. Cook hurt his hamstring late in the game against Green Bay in week two, but even in week one against San Francisco, he didn’t seem like himself. Through the three games he’s participated in, he’s only managed 98 yards from 36 carries.

If he does play, I could see him getting around 15 touches, while being incorporated in the passing game. This could be a big morale booster for Cook.

What will Linval Joseph do this week?

I’m setting the bar high for Joseph moving forward. He really lifted the defense with his fumble recovery that he returned for a 64-yard touchdown against Philadelphia last week. I’m now expecting him to make one big play like that for every game, the rest of the season. It doesn’t necessarily have to be taken back for a touchdown, but a turnover, or a play that shifts momentum will do. People are going to be looking at Joseph as “The Guy” on defense.

I think Joseph grabs two sacks against Arizona, nothing flashy, but enough to where it’ll make an impact. He’ll step into that verbal leadership role a little more, as well. It hurts to still have Everson Griffen out, but it’s good seeing players like Joseph stepping up.

Will Larry Fitzgerald have a big game?

The Minnesota native returns back home, and the one storyline that continues to get brought up whenever the two teams play each other is how Fitzgerald used to be a ball boy for Minnesota back in the day. I mean, I guess some people still may not know that.

It’ll be a meaningful game for him, no doubt. I’m sure he’ll have a lot of friends and family watching him play at “The Bank”. I believe he’ll want to play football, and when I say play football, I mean ball out.

Fitz hasn’t started the season the way he probably would have liked. He only has 17 receptions for 176 yards so far. However, Fitzgerald is third on the all-time receiving yards list with 15,721 yards. Terrell Owens is in second with 15,934 yards. Fitzgerald would only need 214 yards to surpass Owens. As a Vikings fan, I wouldn’t want to see that happen, but I understand how emotional that could be for him to accomplish something like that in Minnesota.

My five predictions

  • Vikings will not look passed Arizona, and make the same mistake it did against Buffalo. Minnesota puts on a show for its fans, and wins 57-0, just kidding, it’ll probably be more like 32-14.
  • The defense will sack the quarterback a total of six times.
  • Kirk Cousins will toss the ball 30 times for 300 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Laquon Treadwell catches two passes, and drops three.
  • George Iloka will have an interception.