We’re back into the swing of game weeks, ladies and gentlemen, and that means it’s time for our normal Five Good Questions post where we speak to the folks that run the SB Nation site representing the Minnesota Vikings’ opponents for the week.
This week, I got an opportunity to exchange some questions with Seth Cox over at Revenge of the Birds, SB Nation’s home for everything relating to Arizona Cardinals football. Once he posts the answers to the questions he sent me, I’ll put them over here. For now, here are the questions that I sent him and his answers.
1) Kliff Kingsbury signed a contract extension with the Cardinals this offseason, but the team has gotten off to a bit of a slow start. How hot is Kingbury’s seat right now, in your opinion?
Not at all. Unless this is where they end up this year record wise, Kliff will be back next year. The question becomes can he finish stronger after a slower start than in years past.
Last year was obviously the biggest issues, starting 7-0 finishing 11-6, so this year with all the issues to start the season, can they finish stronger and change the reality to what has been Kliff’s biggest struggle as a coach?
2) The Cardinals have had to shuffle some wide receivers recently with the injury to Hollywood Brown, the return of DeAndre Hopkins from suspension and the acquisition of Robbie Anderson. What effect has this had on the Cardinals’ offense?
Despite Kyler Murray and Hollywood being college teammates, they were noticeably not on the same page early in the season.
Some of that has to do with the fact that both missed extended periods of time in training camp and then did not play in the preseason, so the first two or so games were rough.
Then Brown started to roll and fans started to get a bit excited with the idea of being able to roll out Brown and Hopkins together.
Then of course Hollywood goes down and it’s a bummer, but we got to be reminded of how great DeAndre Hopkins is.
Despite missing six weeks due to the suspension and not being able to practice, he comes back with 10-104 in his first game.
There is still some grumbling disappointment about not seeing Brown and hope together for another four or five weeks, but with the addition of Robbie Anderson, the continued maturation of Rondale Moore and the emergence of Greg Dortch they have some weapons. It’ll be about being able to make consistent plays with them now.
3) If you were Vikings’ offensive coordinator Wes Phillips, what would be your strategy for attacking the Arizona defense on Sunday?
The Cardinals' defense is funny.
In two games they’ve been hammered with points, Kansas City and New Orleans, 39 points per game. That’s 78 points in two games. In their other five games they’ve given up 98 points or 19.6 points per game and really held down great wide receivers, look at these numbers:
Davante Adams - 2/12/1
Cooper Kupp - 4/44
D.J. Moore - 6/50
A.J. Brown - 3/35
D.K. Metcalf - 2/34
All that being said, you throw the ball against this team.
They don’t generate much if any pressure and covering for three plus seconds in the NFL is next to impossible. So, maybe you slow down Justin Jefferson from being Superman to just being great, but you’ll be able to move the ball and get into position to score points.
The question becomes what teams are you? Are you scoring touchdowns or making mistakes and kicking field goals?
4) Give us one “under the radar” player on each side of the ball for the Cardinals that you think will have a big impact on Sunday’s game.
Do people know who Zach Allen is yet? If the answer is yes I’ll give you one more, and you can skip this section.
If no, Allen has blossomed into one of the better 3-4 defensive linemen in the NFL. He is a motor guy, but has started to put together a package of moves that allows him to be equally as productive on the running game as rushing the passer. It has been a Godsend for the Cardinals because as I said earlier, this team lacks edge rushers who get consistently after the quarterback.
If you know Allen, then let me talk a little about Greg Dortch.
While his numbers have cooled a bit since the return of Rondale Moore, he is a guy who anytime his number is called makes a play.
He has sparked games with his return abilities, he caught a touchdown pass last week against the Saints that was like watching a mouse steal a piece of cheese and evade the cats on patrol, and he generally just produces when given the chance.
5) Over at the DraftKings Sportsbook, both Kyler Murray and Kirk Cousins are +1000 to have the most passing yards in the NFL this week, tied for fourth-best odds in the league. Who do you think has the better chance of being that guy and why?
Cousins. While Murray may put up good numbers, they are usually a combination of passing and running and I don’t see that changing against a good Vikings defense.
Meanwhile, quarterbacks this year:
Patrick Mahomes - 360 yards
Derek Carr - 252 yards (over 200 in the first half)
Matthew Stafford - 249 yards
Jalen Hurts - 239 yards and 61 yards rushing
Andy Dalton - 361 yards (+48 yards from Taysom Hill)
There are passing yards to be had. If you are feeling froggy, take Cousins to get them.
Good luck and good health on Sunday to the Vikings.
Thank you to Seth for taking the time to answer our questions for this week. We’ll have more coverage of this week’s game as we get closer to kickoff.