If Brad Childress wants to keep his job, he may have to blow out the Cardinals in the Metrodome. The rankings say that might be attainable, as the Cardinals have poor positioning in numerous league rankings.
With all the turmoil of the last week in wake of the Randy Moss
post-game locker room blow-up, his bizarre press conference and his eventual release, little attention has been publicly paid to the Arizona Cardinals
Each week, we provide a look at the matchup "By the Numbers" – which is listed below. Many of them simply show the similarities and differences between the teams. But, if you read throughout the list below, it begs one question – how have the Cardinals guys won a game?
The once-proud Cardinals have the 31st-ranked offense and 27th-ranked defense and are at the bottom four in the league in passing yards per game, average per completion, interceptions, first downs offensively, third-down conversions on offense, punt returns and points allowed.
Two of their three quarterbacks are rookies and one – Max Hall
– was an undrafted rookie who has started three games. Only two players have more than 11 receptions. Their quarterbacks have been sacked 22 times. They have been outscored 129-65 in the first half of their games. They hold the ball for just 26 minutes a game – an eight-minute disparity.
Only one team has been in the red zone less than the Cardinals offense. Only one team has allowed opponents to get into the red zone more often than Arizona. In their last three road games, they have been outscored 104-27. These are epically bad numbers. How they have a 3-4 record is a mystery, much less posting wins over New Orleans, the Raiders and St. Louis – all teams with .500 or better records. They have found a way to win games, but, when they are bad, they are very bad. And, fortunately for the Vikings, they are very bad on the road.
There have been a lot of questions about the future of Brad Childress. With the Bears and Packers following the Cardinals on the schedule, this is a game that needs to not only be won, but won convincingly. Today's game needs to be a beating. Any win will be acceptable. A loss to the Cardinals? Childress may be in the market for boxes on Monday. Don't believe that? Let the numbers do the talking.
VIKINGS-CARDINALS BY THE NUMBERS
The Vikings have the 18th-ranked offense (seventh rushing, 21st passing) and are tied for the 12th-rnaked defense (13th rushing, 14th passing). The Cardinals have the 31st ranked offense (25th rushing, 30th passing) and the 27th ranked defense (29th rushing, tied for 21st passing).
The Vikings offense is averaging 331.6 yards a game (197 passing, 136.6 rushing). The Cardinals are averaging just 260.4 yards a game (167.6 passing, 92.9 rushing). The NFL average is 335 yards a game.
Defensively, the Vikings are allowing 316 yards a game (213.6 passing, 102.4 rushing). The Cardinals are allowing 374.1 yards a game (231 passing, 143.1 rushing). The NFL average is 335 yards a game.
The Cardinals have the 25th-ranked running game, but their average per rush is eighth in the league (4.6 yards per carry). In contrast, the Vikings are seventh in rushing yards and seventh in rushing average (4.7 ypg).
The Vikings and the Cardinals are at the bottom of the league in interceptions per pass play. The Vikings are 29th (11 interceptions in 217 passes) and the Cardinals are even worse at 30th (12 interceptions in 210 passes).
Not only are the Cardinals near the bottom in interceptions, they're also as bad in terms of sacks per pass plays, having been sacked 22 times in seven games.
The Cardinals are 30th in offensive third-down conversions, making good on 27 of 86 chances (31.4 percent). The Vikings are 12th, converting 36 of 90 opportunities (40 percent). The league average is 38.1 percent.
Defensively, both teams have been pretty dismal this season. The Vikings are 23rd, allowing opposing offenses to convert 41.1 percent (37 of 90). The Cardinals, as you can guess, have been worse at 27th, allowing opponents to convert 44 of 106 third downs (41.5 percent). Both are well above the league average of 38.1 percent.
Neither team has done much in the way of punt returns. The Vikings are 29th, averaging just 6.5 yards per punt return. The Cardinals are 30th, averaging 6.3 yards per return.
The Vikings are second in net punt return average thanks to allowing just 3.2 yards per punt return and, after years of being one of the worst return teams in the league, they have allowed a long punt return of just nine yards.
Arizona is 31st in the league in points allowed per game. Only 0-7 Buffalo is worse.
The Vikings are tied for 28th in giveaway/takeaway ratio at minus-7 (9 takeaways, 16 giveaways). The Cardinals are 31st at minus-9 (14 takeaways, 23 giveaways). Only Carolina (minus-10) is worse.
Arizona and Carolina are tied for the most giveaways with 23 – an average of more than three giveaways a game.
Arizona is seventh in red zone efficiency, scoring touchdowns on 60 percent of their possessions (9 of 15). The Vikings are tied for 17th at 50 percent.
Defensively, the Cardinals are 8th in red zone efficiency, allowing touchdowns on 39.4 percent of possession (13 of 33). The Vikings are tied for 19th, allowing TDs in 55 percent of opposing red zone trips (11 of 20).
Just as the Cardinals offense has been in the red zone as few times as anyone but one team, only one defense has allowed opponents into the red zone more often – Tennessee, with 35 opponent RZ trips.
Thanks to so many teams being terrified of Percy Harvin returning a kickoff for a touchdown, despite Harvin being in the middle of the pack among kickoff returners, no team has an average starting position better than the Vikings to start drives following the kickoffs. The Vikings' average starting position has been the 31.8-yard line – 5.5 yards better than the league average of the 26.3-yard line.
Neither the Vikings not the Cardinals have had a 300-yard passing game, a stat hard to fathom considering that last year Brett Favre and Kurt Warner combined to have 10 300-yard games – six from Favre and four from Warner.
The Cardinals have a pair of 100-yard receiving games, but neither have been from star Larry Fitzgerald. Both have come from Steve Breaston. The Vikings have one from Percy Harvin.
Arizona has allowed four 100-yard receivers, the Vikings have allowed two.
Considering that the Vikings have faced Marques Colston, Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson, Braylon Edwards, Miles Austin, Greg Jennings and Wes Welker, the two that have topped 100 yards – James Jones of the Packers and Brandon Tate of the Patriots – are pretty surprising.
Arizona hasn't had a 100-yard rusher this season. Adrian Peterson has topped 100 yards three times.
Arizona has allowed four 100-yard rushers while the Vikings have allowed one – last week to BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
After having the greatest statistical season of his career last year, Favre is having one of his worst seasons this year. Favre is usually and consistently in the middle of the road in most statistical categories, but is tied for 23rd in TD passes, 27th in touchdown percentage, tied for 29th in interceptions, 30th in interception percentage and, worst of all 29th in passer rating at 69.8. Derek Anderson is even worse, rating 25th or worse in nine of the 10 statistical categories and 30th in passer rating at 62.8.
Favre is dismal in fourth-quarter passing, viewed so significant that the NFL keeps track of QBs numbers when so many games are on the line. There are 32 teams in the NFL. Of those, 38 quarterbacks have thrown enough passes to be rated. Favre rates 34th with a passer rating of 52.1 in the final quarter. Anderson is almost 20 points higher at 71.3 and he's rated 26th in the league.
Favre is ranked 22nd in third-down passer rating (67.1). Anderson is 25th with a rating of 63.6.
Adrian Peterson leads the NFL in rushing with 776 yards – 55 yards ahead of defending rushing champion Chris Johnson, who has his bye week this week. Only time will tell if Randy Moss does anything for Johnson's rushing average.
Peterson had converted eight of nine third-down rushing attempts. He is tied with Marion Barber for the most attempts and the most conversions.
Fitzgerald is tied for 28th in receptions with 35. Harvin is tied for 36th with 31 catches.
Fitzgerald is 30th in receiving yards with 403 and Harvin is 34th with 393 yards.
Peterson is tied for ninth in scoring for non-kickers with 36 points. Harvin is tied for 19th with 32 points. Fitzgerald leads the Cardinals with 24 points.
Longwell is 32nd among kickers with just 31 points, having attempted just six field goals in seven games. To his credit, he has made them all.
Peterson is third in the league with 970 total yards (776 rushing, 194 receiving). He trails only Gore (1,039) and Arian Foster (982).
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.