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A brief look at Vikings/Cardinals history

It’s been a while since a win in the desert

Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

A little later in the week than I wanted to get to this, but we are back with our look at the history between the Minnesota Vikings and their opponent this week, the Arizona Cardinals. The Vikings have had their share of success against the Cardinals over the years, but it’s been a while since they managed to take a win back home from the desert. Is that going to change this weekend? We can only hope.

As always, these numbers are brought to you by the folks from Pro Football Reference. Also, these numbers will focus on the regular season, though it is worth pointing out that the Vikings are 2-0 in the postseason against the Cardinals over the years.

Regular season games between the Vikings and the Cardinals: 26

All-time record: Vikings, 15-11

Vikings’ road record against the Cardinals: 6-7 (2-3 in St. Louis, 4-4 in Phoenix/Arizona)

Total Vikings’ points scored, head-to-head: 622 (23.9 points/game)

Total Cardinals’ points scored, head-to-head: 576 (22.2 points/game)

Longest Vikings’ winning streak vs Cardinals: 4 (12 November 1995 to 12 November 2000)

Longest Cardinals’ winning streak vs Vikings: 4 (6 November 1977 to 30 October 1983, Cardinals located in St. Louis)

Most recent Vikings’ road win in series: 14 December 2008 (final score 35-14)

Most recent Cardinals’ home win in series: 10 December 2015 (final score 23-20)

Biggest Vikings’ road win in series: 28 points, 27 October 1991 (final score 28-0)

Biggest Cardinals’ home win in series: 30 points, 4 November 1979 (final score 37-7, Cardinals located in St. Louis)

Current streak: Vikings, 2 wins

It’s been a couple of years since the Vikings and Cardinals got together, having last seen each other at U.S. Bank Stadium in October of 2018. Latavius Murray got the Vikings an early lead with a 21-yard touchdown run, but the Cardinals responded with a defensive touchdown, a 36-yard Budda Baker return of a fumble by Kirk Cousins following a strip-sack from Chandler Jones (a name we’re probably going to be hearing a lot on Sunday, unfortunately). The Vikings went into the locker room with a 13-10 lead, but Cousins responded to his miscue with a pair of third-quarter touchdowns, a 13-yard pass to Adam Thielen and a 7-yard run of his own. The Cardinals got a touchdown from David Johnson late, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 27-17 Minnesota win.

The last time the Vikings went to the desert, they had their opportunities despite missing key pieces at each level of the defense in Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr, and Harrison Smith. On Thursday Night Football late in the year, the two teams got together and exchanged touchdowns late in the first quarter, with the Vikings getting a 9-yard run from Adrian Peterson and the Cardinals scoring on a 65-yard pass from Carson Palmer to John Brown. The teams went into the locker room tied at 10-10, but the Cardinals ran off 10 unanswered points to take a 20-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Vikings responded with a 54-yard field goal from Blair Walsh and a 7-yard touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater to Mike Wallace to tie things up. Arizona then got a go-ahead, 47-yard field goal from Chandler Catanzaro, and the Vikings’ last-minute comeback attempt was thwarted when Bridgewater was strip-sacked by Dwight Freeney, sealing the Vikings’ fate in a 23-20 loss.

To find the Vikings’ last victory in Arizona, you have to go back to what was arguably the best professional start in the career of the late Tarvaris Jackson. The game took place in December of 2008 with the Vikings battling for a playoff berth. A first glance at the boxscore shows that Jackson only completed 11 passes on the day, but four of those completions went for touchdowns, including a 41-yarder to Bernard Berrian (who also added an 82-yard punt return to open the scoring) and a 59-yarder to Bobby Wade. Jackson’s performance allowed the Vikings to race out to a 28-0 halftime lead. They didn’t need to do much after that, as the defense locked down the Arizona offense and gave the Vikings a huge 35-14 victory.

There does seem to be a bit of a scheduling quirk in the series as well, as during the 1991 season the Vikings beat the (then) Phoenix Cardinals twice in the span of three weeks. They defeated the Cardinals at the Metrodome on 13 October 1991 by a final score of 34-7, and then beat them in Arizona on 27 October 1991 by a final score of 28-0. I’m not sure why those two teams would have met twice in the same season, let alone in that short of a space of time. Incidentally, 27 October 1991 is also the day that the Minnesota Twins defeated the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series at the Metrodome in what was probably the greatest game of the greatest World Series ever played.

(I like pointing that out because I was at that game with my dad and two of my younger brothers, and I couldn’t hear anything for about two days afterward.)

That’s a brief look back at the history between the Vikings and the Cardinals as we head into this Sunday’s contest. Can the Vikings get their first victory in Arizona in over a decade? The odds seem to be against it, but strange things happen in the NFL sometimes.