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Vikings Vulnerable Against Chandler Jones

Notes: Pass rushers could get loose in Minnesota; Mathieu game-day choice; Peterson on Diggs

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Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones hauls down 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for a sack last weekend.


Loathe to talk about his statistics, Chandler Jones can't get away from the ones he is posting.

The linebacker now has seven sacks and continues to be one of the highest-rated edge rushers in the league according to Pro Football Focus.

On the field he's exactly what the Cards hoped for when they traded for him – "You know the athlete you're getting," coach Bruce

Arians said – and Sunday's game against the Vikings is another chance for Jones to exploit an offensive line.

Jones said he does feel he can get into a rhythm with his pass rush, but "each week is a new week," he said. "You never know when you'll be in rhythm or not in rhythm."

The Vikings are working on their third right tackle and third left tackle of the season. Meanwhile, Jones has been playing well, and fellow outside linebacker Markus Golden – who has been more quiet of late, but still has six sacks himself – would seem to have a major advantage.

"Those are matchups we need production out of, no question," defensive coordinator James Bettcher said.

Golden agreed, to a point.

"See, man, you can say that, but I feel like we've just got to get after it no matter what," Golden said. "For the last, what, four weeks, whatever offensive line we went against we've said the same thing, 'Oh, we've got the favorable matchup.' I feel like it's the same thing. Of course they're banged up and have injuries, but we still have to go out there and do it."

BUCANNON LOOKS OK, WAITING ON MATHIEU

Money linebacker Deone Bucannon, who missed the first two practices this week with an ankle sprain, returned to practice on a limited basis Friday and Arians said Bucannon was "fine." He is officially listed as questionable.

There was more caution with safety Tyrann Mathieu (shoulder), who was also limited. Arians said Mathieu was sore, and his status would come down to a game-day decision.

"We'll see how it goes," Arians said.

Defensive tackle Corey Peters (foot) didn't practice again Friday, and has been listed as doubtful. Cornerback Tharold Simon (ankle) was back at practice limited and is also questionable.

For the Vikings, defensive Sharrif Floyd (knee) is out. Linebacker Eric Kendricks (hip), cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (ankle) and cornerback Marcus Sherels (ankle) are all questionable.

PETERSON IN THE SLOT

Arians said all-pro cornerback Patrick Peterson will indeed cover Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs – who has had 13 catches in each of the last two games – a chunk of the time but not 100 percent of the game Sunday. That will be a challenge for Peterson, Arians said.

"You're not going to shut him out, but you can limit him," Arians said.

Part of the assignment will be covering Diggs in the slot, something Peterson doesn't normally do. Peterson said it means he'll have to be "leery" of not only more routes, but the traffic (and pick plays) that come with playing inside.

"It's good for me to show I can play in those different positons, inside, outside, left, right, and show I can play man-to-man in different circumstances," Peterson said.

MARTIN IR MOVE HURTS SPECIAL TEAMS

The Cardinals put linebacker Gabe Martin (knee) on injured reserve Friday, another long-term loss on special teams. Replacing Martin on the roster was linebacker Zaviar Gooden, who was promoted from the practice squad.

"We've lost three or four core players off special teams now," Arians noted.

Key special teams players on IR include linebacker Alani Fua, wide receiver Jaron Brown and tight end Ifeanyi Momah. 

Images of key players for this week's opponent, the Minnesota Vikings



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