It was another dominant performance by the Vikings defense Sunday, more than making up for a lackluster offense, as the Vikings topped the Cardinals 21-14 to move to 5-2 on the season.
Adrian Peterson led the ground game for the Vikings, rushing for 153 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. The rest of the offense wasn’t very good, as QB Christian Ponder was just 8 for 17 for 58 yards and two interceptions.
The defense though was great, as Harrison Smith returned an interception for a touchdown and the Vikings registered seven sacks, including three by Brian Robison.
Percy Harvin caught Ponder’s only touchdown pass, but Ponder committed another costly turnover, an interception that led to a second-quarter touchdown run by LaRod Stephens-Howling. Ponder has seven turnovers in the last three games; two of them were turned into touchdowns last week at Washington.
The Vikings had four straight three-and-outs into the thick of the fourth quarter, and Ponder finished 8 for 17 for 58 yards and two interceptions.
The defense though forced John Skelton into a flurry of off-target throws and sacked him seven times. Antoine Winfield delivered a jarring stop on fourth-and-1 at the Minnesota 17 midway through the third quarter. With 6:16 left on fourth-and-10, Skelton was taken down near midfield.
Skelton got the Cards within seven as he hit Andre Roberts for a 6-yard scoring pass with 1:48 left to make it a 21-14 game.
Arizona tried an onside kick instead of trying to force another punt and Peterson ended the game with a tough inside run for just Minnesota’s the second first down of the second half.
Skelton went 25 for 36 for 262 yards and two turnovers.
Harvin just like vs at Detroit a few weeks back, took the opening kickoff and sped through the coverage for a touchdown. It didn’t count, called back by an illegal block penalty on an unnamed player. But a little later, Peterson polished a five-play, 88-yard drive with a classic, two-cut zigzag through the middle for a 13-yard touchdown.
The Vikings will look to get it to 6-2 Thursday, but need more from Ponder, who seems to be going backwards after an early hot start to the season.
On a short week, the Vikings will be at home to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night.