After getting out to a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter, the Vikings were outscored by the Cardinals 18-3 the rest of the way to fall in the final preseason game of 2023 by a final score of 18-17.
The Vikings got the ball first in this one, and rookie quarterback Jaren Hall led them on a very impressive drive that was capped with a 1-yard touchdown run from fellow rookie DeWayne McBride to give the home team an early 7-0 lead.
The defense then stepped up for Minnesota, as another rookie, Jay Ward, hammered Cardinals’ starting quarterback Clayton Tune on a blitz and forced a fumble that was recovered by Troy Reeder to give the Vikings a first-and-goal from the Arizona 5-yard line.
It took the Vikings just one play to cash in, as Hall found running back Abram Smith for a touchdown to quickly make the score 14-0.
Arizona did dent the scoreboard on their next possession, getting a 38-yard field goal from veteran Matt Prater to make the score 14-3. The Vikings got the lead back to two touchdowns on a 26-yard field goal from Greg Joseph late in the first half to make it 17-3 heading into the locker room.
The Cardinals took the second-half kickoff and put together a very impressive drive (though they did get some help from some Minnesota penalties). They cut into the lead on that drive thanks to a pair of former Vikings, as David Blough found Davion Davis for a 26-yard touchdown to make it 17-9 midway through the third quarter after Prater bounced the extra point off of the left upright.
Arizona then closed the gap even more on their next possession, courtesy of a 5-yard run by Blough to make the score 17-15. The Cardinals then lined up for a 2-point conversion attempt, but Blough’s pass was broken up to keep it a 2-point Vikings lead.
The ensuing Vikings’ drive resulted in an interception by Sean Chandler after an ugly throw by Hall, setting the Cardinals up just outside of the Minnesota 30-yard line. That led to a Prater field goal from 27 yards out to give the visiting team their first lead of the game, 18-17, with just over six minutes remaining.
Greg Joseph had an opportunity to kick the Vikings into the lead ahead of the two-minute warning, but he pushed a 54-yard attempt wide to the right. The Vikings’ defense then got a stop on the Cardinals’ next possession and got the football back at their own 7-yard line. The offense couldn’t get their offense going, and the turned the ball over on downs to end the game.
The Vikings’ preseason losing streak is now at 10 games, as they have not won a preseason game since the third contest of the 2019 preseason. Kevin O’Connell is now 0-6 during the preseason as the Minnesota head coach.
The regular season will kick off for the Vikings two weeks from Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium when they host the Tom Brady-less Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2023 opener. We hope that you’ll join us for that one, and the rest of the games throughout the 2023 NFL season for the purple.
The Vikings lose their final preseason game of 2023 to the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 18-17. Thank you to everyone that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!