NFL Week 7 Prediction: Arizona Cardinals vs. Minnesota Vikings

Hector Diaz@@iamhectordiazAnalyst IOctober 20, 2012

Both the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings have been two of the league's biggest surprises in 2012 with their respective 4-2 records. 

Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb, who took over for starter John Skelton after he suffered an ankle injury in Week 1, is now sidelined himself. According to AZCentral.com, Kolb is expected to be out for six to eight weeks due to a rib injury.

This Week 7 matchup marks Skelton's second game as starter this season. If he is able to avoid injury, it would also mark his only full start. 

The Arizona Cardinals have allowed a league-worst 28 sacks this season. Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen may have a field day against Arizona's offensive line. He'll look to add to his four sack total on the season. 

Despite having a quarterback carousel, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is still in top form. He currently ranks eighth in the NFL with 36 receptions. 

The Vikings are led by second-year starting QB Christian Ponder who has shown great improvement from his rookie season.

According to ESPN, Ponder currently ranks second in completion percentage. While this is not one of the more attractive stats, it is definitely crucial to helping provide a balance for the Vikings’ run game.

The Arizona Cardinals biggest challenge will be stopping Minnesota's impressive running game led by running back Adrian Peterson, who averages 83.2 yards per game on the ground. Arizona's dominant defense, however, has only allowed a total of three rushing touchdowns this season.

The game may ultimately come down to one of the most striking similarities between the two squads—special teams.

Minnesota has wide receiver Percy Harvin returning kicks, who statistically is the best return man in the league.

Arizona has cornerback Patrick Peterson, who is steadily becoming one of the league’s best punt returners. 

Look for this game to be a defensive battle, with the outcome possibly depending on the performance of special teams. 

 

Prediction: Arizona 17, Minnesota 24

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