Arizona at Minnesota
Time: NOON CT
Spread: MIN -11.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Minnesota Vikings improved to 2-2-1 last week with a 23-21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, and it is tied with Green Bay for second place in the NFC North. This week, the Vikings welcome the Arizona Cardinals as heady 11.5-point favorites in a Noontime (CT) game on FOX. The over/under is set at 44 points according to NFL oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
The Vikings snapped its two-game losing streak last week as Linval Joseph returned a fumble for 64-yards to give Minnesota the go-ahead touchdown in what was a close rematch of last year’s NFC title game. Kirk Cousins was accurate and effective, launching 30 of 37 for completion for 301 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions. The backfield was hardly as helpful, though Latavious Murray did contribute 42 yards on 11 attempts. Wide receiver Adam Thielen led the way for receiving yards with 116 on his seven catches, adding a touchdown and a long catch of 68 yards. Stefon Diggs had 91 yards on 10 attempts, while Kyle Rudolph caught five passes for 41 yards. The Vikings averaged 10 yards-per-attempt, which helped it offset the 3.3 yards-per-carry it managed.
Minnesota boasts the No. 3 pass offense in the NFL at 321.4 yards per game, but it possesses the third-worst rushing attack, good for just 65.8 yards per game. The result is a poor overall offense that manages only 22.6 points (No. 22) which is not quite good enough considering it surrenders 26.2 points (also No. 22) to its opponents. Murray averages just 3.5 yards-per-carry on the season, and Dalvin Cook has been a colossal flop in his own right with more attempts (36) and even fewer gains (2.7 per). Cousins leads the team in yards per rush at just 3.6, excluding those with less than five attempts on the year.
Thielen has been the bread and butter of the pass offense, with 589 yards on the season while Diggs has functioned better as a WR with a second-best 402 yards and three touchdowns. The Vikings will be in the hunt for a running back, while mostly hoping Cousins can continue to drive the ball down the field until it obtains one—be it via trade or free agent signings after this season.
The Arizona Cardinals won its first game in Week 5 after beginning the season 0-4. Arizona knocked off the woeful San Francisco 49ers 28-18, but it will struggle to build momentum on that win against the Vikings as heavy underdogs. Sam Bradford has had accuracy issues. He has more interceptions (4) than touchdowns (2) and averages just 5.0 yards-per-pass-attempt. His 62.5 percent completion ratio is misleading simply due to the number of short routes his targets run, and due to his six sacks and four INTS. His passer rating hovers at just 62.5.
Accordingly, The Cardinals gave the test to Josh Rosen, and the UCLA product struggled even worse: 10 of 25 for completion with a TD and a quarterback rating of just 33.4. The Cards also average just 3.3 yards-per-rush, with David Johnson leading the team on his 74 attempts for 242 yards and four touchdowns. As if this was not all bad enough in and of itself, the Cardinals are only averaging 13.0 points per game, which ranks third-to-last in the NFL. Its defense has been solid in holding opponents to 22.4 points per game (no. 11), but it hardly matters with an inaccurate pair of quarterback and so little depth behind them in the backfield.