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Cards Dig Too Deep A Hole

Notebook: Peterson carries Vikings, Housler gets first start

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Linebacker Daryl Washington chases down Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb for the Cards' lone sack Sunday in a loss to Minnesota.


MINNEAPOLIS – The Cardinals said they were thinking of a comeback, even after falling behind 28 points Sunday in Minnesota.

It was natural, despite the Cards' awful start. The Vikings had given up halftime leads three times already this season, including ones of 17 and 20 points.

"We felt like we had a chance the entire time," quarterback Kevin Kolb said.

But each time the Cards had a chance to crawl back in the game, there were misfires: For example, Kolb overthrowing wide-open tight end Rob Housler near the goal line, or the defense surrendering a 60-yard catch-and-run by Vikings receiver Devin Aromashodu to set up a field goal after the Cards had cut the lead to 18 early in the second half.

"We can sit and say all day, 'There are things that are open or there are opportunities to make plays," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "But at some point, you're not getting it done."

The Cardinals did improve their third-down efficiency, converting 8-of-18 (44 percent), but it wasn't enough in the beginning, when the Vikings built a 21-0 lead by traveling a total of 67 yards on the three scoring drives.

"That's the problem, it's not just one person making all the mistakes it's everyone making one or two mistakes," Kolb said. "That's where details come in. We have to get back to detail-oriented football. It starts with meetings, it starts with showing up to work on time getting in early and getting your work done, all the stuff professionals are supposed to do.

"Maybe it takes us getting our tails kicked in and being embarrassed to get that done."

PETERSON CAUSES PROBLEMS

The Cardinals said all week the Vikings' chances would hinge on the play of running back Adrian Peterson. They were right.

Even with the troubles of Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb – who was booed repeatedly and who was just 4-for-12 for 63 yards passing in the first half, despite a 28-3 Minnesota lead – Peterson put his team on his back. He gained 122 yards on 29 carries and scored three touchdowns.

"He's probably the best back in the league," defensive end Calais Campbell said. "Everyone knows that. Today he showed that he is tough to tackle.

"We let him get going and he made us pay."

Peterson was asked about putting the previously winless Vikings on his back.

"I just came out with the mindset of, by any means, get it done," Peterson said. "Do your part. And that's the message I told the guys up front. 'Do your part, get it done. Do it for 60 minutes until the whistle blows.' "

Peterson only gained 22 yards on his final 12 carries, but by then, the game had been decided.

"We got him tackled later in the game but that's the question, why didn't we do it the first part of the game?" Whisenhunt said.

HOUSLER EMERGES

With Todd Heap inactive with a hamstring injury, Housler showed up as the threat down the seam he was drafted to be – with mixed results. Kolb did miss Housler on the potential touchdown, but Housler also dropped what would have been a long-gainer down the middle.

"It was a good tastes of getting in the game, getting some action," Housler said. "I haven't been getting too many reps the first few games so  it was good to mix it up."

Housler finished with three catches for 25 yards, while he was targeted eight times.

INJURY UPDATE

Safety Kerry Rhodes left early in the game with a sprained foot and wasn't able to return. Guard Daryn Colledge had to leave with a concussion, and was replaced by D'Anthony Batiste – who also played some at blocking tight end with Heap out.

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