Final

Cardinals 14

(4-3, 1-2 away)

Vikings 21

(5-2, 4-0 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, October 21, 2012

Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, MN 

1 2 3 4 T
ARI 0 7 0 714
MIN 7 7 7 021

Top Performers

Passing: J. Skelton (ARI) - 262 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: A. Peterson (MIN) - 23 CAR, 153 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: A. Roberts (ARI) - 7 REC, 103 YDS, 1 TD

Adrian Peterson helps Vikings hold on to edge Cardinals

Associated Press
Sunday Blitz: Cardinals-Vikings Recap
Prim Siripipat and Cris Carter break down the Vikings' 21-14 win over the CardinalsTags: NFL, Sunday Blitz, recap, Prim Siripipat, Cris Carter, Vikings, Cardinals
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings are going to have to surpass 58 yards passing to stay in the playoff chase.

For now Adrian Peterson and a relentless pass rush were enough for a 21-14 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Peterson ran 23 times for a season-high 153 yards and a first-quarter touchdown, and the Vikings survived a dreadful second half to hang on and hand the Cardinals their third straight loss.

"The way we've tried to structure our team, the philosophy lends itself to winning games like this when you are not completing a lot of balls down the field in a league where so many say that's the way you have to win," coach Leslie Frazier said, adding: "That's a formula for success."

Christian Ponder threw a second-quarter touchdown pass to Percy Harvin, but he had only one completion for 4 yards in the second half while the Vikings (5-2) punted five straight times. The last four were three-and-out possessions.

"To win an ugly game like this is huge. That shows how good of a team we are," said Ponder, who finished 8 for 17 for 58 yards and two interceptions.

One of them led to a second-quarter touchdown run by LaRod Stephens-Howling.

The other gave the Cardinals a 47-yard field goal try on the last play of the first half, after a strange decision by the Vikings to pass three straight times inside their own 25 but take their time doing it.

But Jay Feely's kick was wide right.

"I've got to be a lot smarter and make better decisions. That's for sure," said Ponder, who has seven turnovers in the past three games.

Two of them were turned into touchdowns last week at Washington.

Rookie Harrison Smith returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown in the first minute of the second half, giving the Vikings enough of a cushion to withstand the offensive woes down the stretch.

John Skelton hit Andre Roberts for a 6-yard scoring pass with 1:48 left to pull the Cardinals (4-3) within one score, but they tried an onside kick and Peterson ended the game with a tough inside run for just Minnesota's the second first down of the second half.

Seven games into his comeback from reconstructive surgery on his left knee, Peterson is in prime form.

"There's still a little missing. You guys probably think I'm crazy, but it is," Peterson said. "I feel good. I'm not going to complain. I'm just going to keep working and just keep getting better each week."

Skelton went 25 for 36 for 262 yards and two turnovers, taking the job from Kevin Kolb (damaged ribs).

Many of the throws he missed were way off the mark, but the lack of time he had in the pocket made it difficult to judge his performance.

The Vikings sacked him seven times, giving the Cardinals an NFL-most 35 allowed this season. Antoine Winfield delivered a jarring stop on fourth-and-1 at the Minnesota 17 midway through the third quarter.

Then with 6:16 left on fourth-and-10, Skelton was taken down near midfield in a swarm led by Kevin Williams.

"Nobody's ready to call it a season. We're going to get back to our winning ways, starting with San Francisco this week. It'll be another dogfight. NFC West at home. We've just got to be ready," Skelton said.

After starting 4-0, the Cardinals have scored a total of 33 points.

"We like when teams come out and want to throw the ball on us. We know we have good guys on the back end, and we know we have a heck of a good pass rush," said cornerback Chris Cook, who helped limit Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald to 29 yards on four receptions.

For the third straight year, Fitzgerald's visit to his hometown was ruined. The Cardinals haven't won here since 1977, when they played in St. Louis and the Vikings played outdoors.

Game notes


Peterson tied Robert Smith's franchise record with his 29th career 100-yard rushing game. ... The 5-foot-7, 185-pound Stephens-Howling finished with 104 yards on 20 carries, the first 100-yard game for the Cardinals since last November. ... The Vikings had only two first downs outside of their two touchdown drives. ... Cardinals RG Adam Snyder suffered a bruised quadriceps in the third quarter and didn't return. For the Vikings, TE John Carlson, their biggest free-agent signing who has only three catches for 8 yards this season, left the game with a concussion. ... Harvin returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but Marvin Mitchell was called for an illegal block in the back to wipe it out.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
ARI
MIN
1st Downs2112
Passing 1st downs
152
Rushing 1st downs
57
1st downs from Penalties
13
3rd down efficiency
5-141-10
4th down efficiency
0-21-1
Total Plays6947
Total Yards356209
Yards per play5.24.4
Total Drives1314
Passing23043
Comp - Att
25-368-17
Yards per pass
6.42.5
Interceptions thrown
12
Sacks - Yards Lost
7-323-15
Rushing126166
Rushing Attempts
2627
Yards per rush
4.86.1
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-42-2
Penalties9-827-35
Turnovers22
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
12
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01
Possession35:0524:55

Passing Leaders

ARIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Skelton25/362627.3117-32
MINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Ponder8/17583.4123-15

Rushing Leaders

ARICARYDSAVGTDLG
Stephen...201045.2127
Powell4133.307
MINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Peterson231536.7127
Harvin2105.005

Receiving Leaders

ARIRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Roberts710314.71219
Housler55410.80227
MINRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Harvin4379.31145
Simpson188.0081

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERARIMIN
minTD08:38Adrian Peterson 13 Yd Run (Blair Walsh Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERARIMIN
ariTD12:41LaRod Stephens-Howling 3 Yd Run (Jay Feely Kick) 77
minTD06:26Percy Harvin 3 Yd Pass From Christian Ponder (Blair Walsh Kick) 714
THIRD QUARTERARIMIN
minTD14:03Harrison Smith 31 Yd Interception Return (Blair Walsh Kick) 721
FOURTH QUARTERARIMIN
ariTD01:48Andre Roberts 6 Yd Pass From John Skelton (Jay Feely Kick) 1421

Research Notes

NEXT LEVEL: The Vikings didn't send an extra pass rusher after John Skelton once on Sunday, and for three quarters the strategy worked. However, Skelton figured out the coverage in the fourth quarter and threw a fourth-quarter touchdown to Andre Roberts that made the game interesting late.
  [+]
NEXT LEVEL: Adrian Peterson set season highs with 153 rush yards, 69 yards after contact and a 6.7 yards per rush average. Peterson's 136 rushing yards between the tackles was not just his best total this season, but the fifth-highest total in a game this season.

ESPN Stats & Information