The second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium opened with the Minnesota Vikings holding a 10-3 lead over the Arizona Cardinals, and the purple having the ball at their own 40-yard line, facing a 2nd-and-1. Latavius Murray was stopped short on the first play of the quarter to make it 3rd-and-1. On that third down, Benson Mayowa was in Cousins’ face in the backfield, and he lofted one down the field that was intercepted by Tre Boston to squelch the Minnesota drive. Cousins’ third interception of the year set the Cardinals up in Minnesota territory at the 47-yard line.
On the Cardinals’ first play, Josh Rosen launched one deep down the field to his tight end, Ricky Seals-Jones, and Harrison Smith got completely turned around on the play, allowing the pass to be completed for a gain of 40. That gave the Cardinals a first-and-goal at the 7. A couple of runs by David Johnson put the ball inside the 1-yard line, and Rosen’s third down pass for Seals-Jones fell incomplete. The Cardinals kept the offense on the field on fourth-and-goal, and David Johnson was swallowed up by a whole host of Vikings short of the goal line, keeping the Vikings’ lead at 10-3.
Minnesota’s offense couldn’t get anything going to get out of the shadow of their own goalposts, and went three-and-out. Matt Wile came in to punt for the first time on the afternoon, and he got a decent punt away. Christian Kirk fielded the punt and was stopped just short of midfield at the Arizona 49.
Danielle Hunter got things started properly for the Vikings with a sack of Rosen on the first play of the drive. That resulted in a three-and-out for the Cardinals, and Andy Lee came in to punt the ball away. Marcus Sherels called for a fair catch at the 10, and the Vikings’ offense came back out onto the field.
A run by Latavius Murray and a pass to Stefon Diggs moved the chains for the Vikings to start their drive, and a pass to Adam Thielen moved the chains again. After a run by Murray, Cousins was sacked by Corey Peters again, setting up third-and-long. Cousins was once again sacked from behind, and the ball was punched out by Chandler Jones. The ball bounced directly into the hands of Cardinals’ safety Budda Baker, who scooped up the loose ball and went all the way to the end zone for a 36-yard touchdown. Phil Dawson added the extra point, and suddenly things were tied at 10-10.
Mike Hughes fielded the Dawson kickoff in the end zone for a touchback, giving the Vikings the ball at their own 25. Cousins found Thielen for a quick first down to start the drive, and then found Laquon Treadwell for another first down. A pass to Kyle Rudolph moved the ball into Arizona territory, and an incompletion made it 3rd-and-2 from the Arizona 47. It appeared that the Vikings had converted the third down on a pass to Thielen, but Kyle Rudolph was flagged for offensive pass interference to make it 3rd-and-12 from the Minnesota 44 at the two-minute warning.
Cousins was unable to find Thielen after the break, and Matt Wile came on to punt again. His punt took a nice bounce and stopped at the 5-yard line, pinning the Cardinals deep in their own territory. A penalty on Patrick Peterson for holding on the punt return pushed them back even further, down to the 2-yard line.
The Vikings nearly got a safety when they stopped David Johnson on first down, and the Cardinals could not pick up enough for a first down, so they were forced to punt. Marcus Sherels called for a fair catch at the Minnesota 34, with no timeouts as they had exhausted all of them on the previous Cardinals’ possession to get the ball back.
After having a pass knocked down on first down, Cousins completed consecutive passes to Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph, and Adam Thielen to get the ball to the Arizona 25 with 16 seconds left in the half. After a delay of game penalty, the ball went back to the 30. Cousins threw an incomplete pass on second down, and the Vikings elected to send Dan Bailey out on third down for a 48-yard field goal attempt. He blasted it through the goal posts, and the Vikings took the lead back at 13-10. That’s how we go into halftime at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Cousins has not had a great day, to be certain. The stats say that he’s completed 18-of-26 passes for 174 yards, but he’s thrown an interception and he lost the fumble that led directly to Arizona’s only touchdown.
On the ground, Latavius Murray has carried the ball nine times for 66 yards and the Vikings’ lone touchdown. That 66 yard output is already the most for a Vikings’ running back this season, and we still have an entire half of football to go in this one. Stefon Diggs also has a carry for nine yards, and C.J. Ham has one carry for one yard.
Adam Thielen is again on pace to go over the 100-yard mark in this one, as he has six catches for 67 yards thus far. Laquon Treadwell has four catches for 38 yards, and Kyle Rudolph has four catches for 37 yards. Stefon Diggs also has three grabs for 33 yards.
The Vikings won the opening coin toss and deferred, meaning that they’ll get the ball when we start the second half of play.
At halftime at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings lead the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 13-10. Come on in and join us for the third quarter of action!