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Three Big Things: Vikings Week

A look at the top storylines for Sunday's game



The three biggest things to watch for Sunday when the Cardinals play the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.:

Hop-Ful About The Offense Going Forward

DeAndre Hopkins made an unquestioned impact on the Cardinals. Offensive players said it. Defensive players said it. Kliff Kingsbury said it. But for all the things Hop did, making 10 catches and being a focal point for the defense is what the Cardinals need the most. The Vikings have some good defensive players, especially at defensive end, but they have had moments of leakiness against the pass. There will be a little more use of Robbie Anderson this week, but Hopkins again will be the featured player, and whether its him or Zach Ertz or Rondale Moore getting the most work, the Cardinals hope the offense continues its upward trend.

The Top Guys Shut Down, And Justin Jefferson

The Cardinals have done a very nice job against top-end receivers this season: Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, A.J. Brown, DK Metcalf. Justin Jefferson is one of those guys – he's one of the best in the league – and figures to be the guy Vance Joseph keys on (although Dalvin Cook as running back and Adam Thielen as the other wideout are a problem too.) Byron Murphy has been the guy who does the heavy lifting in these cases most of the time. Whether its Murphy or another VJ scheme, the Cardinals need to make sure Jefferson doesn't go off, and also make sure it plays better overall. Joseph said the unit's "standard dipped" against the Saints (three huge plays leading to points) and Jefferson is the kind of guy who can deliver big plays.

Break The Streak In The Twin Cities

It's hard to believe the Cardinals, since moving to Arizona in 1988 have not beaten the Vikings in Minnesota. That's nine regular season games and one playoff game, and to think a city has been such a hurdle even with double-digit visits is somewhat mind-boggling. The current team has nothing to do with it – the last time the Cardinals played in Minnesota was 2018, when Josh Rosen was the quarterback, Steve Wilks was the coach and only a handful of 2022 players were even on the roster. The here and now is about the Cardinals finding a way to break the streak not for streak-breaking sake but so this team can create a winning streak in 2022, get back to .500, take an NFC foe down and remain in the NFC West race.