Vikings Go Perfect in Kirk-tober, Beat Cardinals 34-26

Oct 30, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings secured a perfect 4-0 record in Kirk-tober by beating the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, 34-26. It was a sloppy performance at times, but the Vikings defense stepped up in key situations to secure Minnesota’s fifth consecutive victory.

In particular, Za’Darius Smith had a huge game for Minnesota. He finished the day with three sacks and four TFLs, including a huge sack on Arizona’s last-ditch effort to tie the game.

The game got off to a rather strange start as apparently Kirk Cousins came to U.S. Bank Stadium donning a Lamar Jackson costume. On Minnesota’s opening drive, Cousins rushed for 21 yards, including a 17-yard scamper for a touchdown. However, that would be about all the running Cousins would do for the day, and he finished the game with 22 rushing yards.

For the Vikings defense, Smith played well, but it was a rather sloppy performance filled with penalties. The Vikings had a season-high 10 penalties for 67 yards. Luckily for Minnesota, Arizona had just as sloppy a day with 10 penalties of their own.

Additionally, it was a rough day for both teams on special teams. Greg Joseph missed two more kicks (a blocked 56-yard field goal and extra point attempt). He now has missed six kicks in the last four games. On the other side, Greg Dortch muffed a punt with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

It was recovered by Troy Dye and led immediately to a touchdown drive by the Vikings, capped off by a five-yard connection between Kirk Cousins and KJ Osborn. Cousins threw for 232 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the day. It was a strong game overall for the Vikings offense, with Sunday being the first time the eclipsed 30 points on the season.

A major reason behind that offensive outburst was the Vikings running game. Dalvin Cook had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, piling up 111 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Alexander Mattison added 40 yards and a touchdown of his own on eight carries.

Meanwhile, the only negative from this emphasis on the running game is that it ended Justin Jefferson’s streak of games with 100+ receiving yards. He finished just shy of the mark with six catches that went for 98 yards. However, he had one of the most important plays of the day, snatching a key 17-yard pass on a third quarter TD drive that put Minnesota up by two possessions.

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With this latest victory, the Vikings (6-1) head into Week 9 guaranteed to be at least three games ahead of the Green Bay Packers (3-4) in the loss column. The Packers are yet to play on Sunday as they will visit the Buffalo Bills (5-1) for Sunday Night Football.

Minnesota will head on the road next weekend to take on the Washington Commanders (3-4) in Kirk Cousins first game back at FedEx Field. It will be his second game taking on his former team, with the first being a 19-9 victory by the Vikings on October 24th, 2019. The Arizona Cardinals (3-5) head home to take on their division rival Seattle Seahawks (4-3).

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.