Arizona Cardinals vs Minnesota Vikings: Key Matchups

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Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Carson Palmer needs to have a good game against a good Vikings defense.

In terms of raw passing yardage, the Cardinals are a top ten team in the NFL. This doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Palmer still has the big arm that can make a game-changing play, but his play has been inconsistent overall. A closer look shows a problem.

Palmer is 10th in the league in passing yards, despite missing a game, with 2444 yards, but his other numbers aren’t as impressive. He currently sits 17th in touchdown passes (11), 21st in completion percentage (62.5%), and 28th in QBR (51.2). He’s in the top ten in interceptions thrown with eight, and he missed a game.

On the other side of the ball, the Vikings defense has been very good. They rank fifth in passing yards given up, third in passer rating allowed, and they have as many interceptions as they have touchdowns allowed, at ten. They’re also tied for 11th in sacks, with 22. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes is as stout a defender as the league has to offer, while Terence Newman is a savvy veteran who is rarely caught unawares. Trae Waynes is their third corner, and while he makes some mistakes, he can also make big plays.

If the Cardinals want to be in this game, they’ll have to get a consistent effort from Palmer, who can’t make poor decisions and force the ball into coverage. He can still put up big-time totals, but can’t make the big mistakes.