The Cardinals are playing well, statistically, on defense. They are second in total defense, and tied for third in scoring defense. But of late, the turnovers have dried up.
In their last three games, the Cardinals' D has forced only one turnover -- a fumble recovery in Carolina, a play that was negated by a Carson Palmer interception soon after. (The Cardinals did recover a fumble against the 49ers, but it was on special teams.) The Cards haven't had an interception since picking off Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick twice on "Monday Night Football."
It's a big missing element right now. Perhaps it has something to do with the year Pro Bowl safety Tyrann Mathieu has had -- or hasn't had -- trying to come back from his knee injury and then sitting out last week with his shoulder problem (there is a possibility Mathieu will play Sunday in Minnesota). The Cardinals still have nine total interceptions this season, not a bad total given the bagel posted over the last month. But on a team that has struggled to score points consistently, those are the kind of plays that can change fortunes.
It could be tough Sunday -- Vikings QB Sam Bradford has been careful with the ball, letting his great defense do the heavy lifting. Bradford has thrown only two interceptions this season in 283 attempts while taking 24 sacks. He'll be smart. The Cardinals hope to get enough pressure to force a mistake -- and maybe that can jump-start the Cards on the other side of the ball.