GAME PLAN: The Cardinals want to improve their running game, but they won't be stupid and try to do it Sunday against the Vikings, who give up fewer yards per rush than any team in the NFL. The Cardinals don't have a physical offensive line, and they don't pretend to be a power running team. They will throw the ball against the Vikings, hoping to get a lead and then maybe grind the clock late.
Defensively, the Cardinals are a decent run defense, especially at home. Their players tend to be jacked up to play big names, so they should be ready for Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. The Cardinals' tackling can get sloppy at times, and they tend to run themselves out of their gaps at other times. If that happens against the Vikings, Peterson will have a huge day. Look for strong safety Adrian Wilson to move down close to the line of scrimmage in order to make some plays against the run.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Vikings DE Jared Allen vs. Cardinals OT Mike Gandy -- Gandy has faced elite rushers all year and played well. The Cardinals rarely go out of their way to help him. Allen, however, might be the best Gandy has faced, and he'll be coming from Kurt Warner's blind side.
Cardinals SS Adrian Wilson vs. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson: Wilson often moves down near the line of scrimmage to defend elite running backs, so it's expected he will do the same against Peterson. The collisions should be fun to watch.
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald vs. Vikings CB Antoine Winfield: Winfield is giving up six inches and 40 pounds to Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald isn't a real burner, but he's adept at using his size and strength to beat smaller corners.
INJURY IMPACT: OLB Clark Haggans aggravated a left foot injury in last Sunday's game and might be done for the season. The Cardinals haven't placed him on IR yet, but Haggans had missed the previous two games with the same injury.
--S Matt Ware has missed two games with a facial fracture but is hopeful of playing this week. The team could use him on special teams.
--ILB Pago Togafau (knee) missed last week's game and likely will be out again this week.
Cardinals Game Plan vs. Vkings
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