- Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals take on Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions in Week 2
- The Cardinals are decent favorites to win again but as the home side this time.
- Kickoff is at 4 pm ET on Sunday, September 19 from Ford Field
The 2021 NFL season heads into Week 2 for the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals. Each has vastly different expectations.
While the Vikings try to right their ship defensively, the Cardinals are looking to compete in the highly competitive NFC West.
Arizona could win anywhere from 9 to 11 games with their schedule. Most are not expecting Minnesota to win more than four or five contests this year.
Kickoff is set for just after 4 pm ET from State Farm Stadium in Arizona on Fox Sports.
Vikings vs Cardinals Odds
|Minnesota Vikings||+175||+4 (-110)||Ov 50.5 (-110)|
|Arizona Cardinals||-210||-4 (-110)||Un 50.5 (-110)|
Odds as of September 18th at DraftKings
The Cardinals are favored slightly entering Sunday’s game, with the money split almost even. Currently, about 55 % of the money is coming in on Minnesota still. The spread has now risen to 4 points and still may wobble up or down before game time.
Arizona’s odds to win have ranged from -175 to -225, while the odds on the over/under have waffled between 49 and 51 (now 50.5).
Week 2 Injury Report: Vikings vs Cardinals
|Vikings||Injury / Status||Cardinals||Injury / Status|
|Anthony Barr, OLB||Knee, OUT||Devon Kennard, LB||Hamstring, OUT|
|Everson Griffen, DE||Concussion, OUT||Charles Washington, DB||Thigh, Probable|
|Christian Darrisaw||Groin OUT||Kelvin Beachum, T||Ribs, Questionable|
|Harrison Hand, CB||Hamstring, OUT||Darrell Daniels, TE||Toe, Questionable|
The good news for Arizona is there is not a lot of significant loss here. Minnesota will feel a considerably significant impact with at least four players out and several more already on the Injured Reserve.
Watch for the status of players like Kelvin Beachum and Darrell Daniels for Arizona. Beachum can play both sides from the tackle position. That is important if he cannot play on Sunday.
Kirk Cousins Looking to Lead Minnesota to First Win
Minnesota narrowly lost its first game to the Cincinnati Bengals last week by a 27-24 score in overtime. Cousins led the Vikings with 351 passing yards and two touchdowns. He was able to stay mistake-free but did throw 49 times in defeat. The quarterback completed 36 of those attempts.
After an entertaining 2020, one of Cousins’ main goals was to keep mistakes down — especially interceptions (13 in 2020). Combine that with nine fumbles last season and 39 sacks and it was easy to see that Cousins felt the pressure.
If you need a streaming/pivot option at QB for the next few weeks…
He has finished as QB13 or better in five of his last six seasons. He’s an efficient scorer, surrounded by talent, and keeps his turnovers to a minimum.
Top 3 schedule from Weeks 2-5.@RotoViz
— Sam Wallace (@SWallace_FF) September 18, 2021
Again, the problem may be that first week. If Arizona can play like last week in Tennessee, then Cousins is going to have a long afternoon. Oh, by the way, Cousins is not much of a scrambler. Can RB Dalvin Cook take some of the load off of him? If Derrick Henry could not get going much last week, then, that may be a questionable proposition.
Now, let’s compare the quarterbacks quickly in the early going.
Kurt Cousins vs Kyler Murray
|80.9||PFF Offensive Grade||84.5|
The big concern with Cousins is that he puts up numbers but not always wins. This is especially true when it comes to playing winning teams. This is a quarterback that once lost nine games in a row against teams in primetime. Cousins graded out fourth among quarterbacks last year and seventh in the last three years. Minnesota only made the playoffs once in that span, however.
The fact that we even have to compare Kirk Cousins to TAYLOR HEINICKE says all we need to know about Kirk
— JAH. (@JahWRLD999) September 18, 2021
The Vikings are going up against a defense in Arizona that gave up some points in 2020. Is this like the Arizona defense from 2015? Again, that is another question which could be answered on Sunday. Cook and the running game must get a move on and the running back must get past that Arizona front-seven.
If not, Cousins, as we said, is going to have a tough time with it.
Kyler Murray Hopes to Keep Momentum Rolling
After the Week 1 rout in Tennessee, Murray announced to the world that this could be a breakout season. He threw for four touchdowns and then ran for another. The Arizona quarterback only threw the ball 32 times as the Cardinals maintained a pretty good balance of run/pass ratio.
Murray benefits from an easy early schedule in the next couple of weeks. A home date with the Minnesota Vikings does not hurt either. The Vikings 2020 defense ranked just 29th in points allowed and 27th in yards. They bent but did not break quite as badly against Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1. Keep in mind, Burrow had just come off of a significant injury. Murray is 100% healthy with speed to spare.
The #Vikings have ruled out Anthony Barr, Christian Darrisaw, Everson Griffen, and Harrison Hand, with Griffen being placed in the concussion protocol after a car accident that involved him swerving to miss a deer on the way to the facility on Thursday.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 17, 2021
Murray is going to likely have a good deal of time to throw on Sunday and scramble when needed. The middle of that Minnesota defense expects to be quite vulnerable. This could be another stellar day for the Cardinals’ signal-caller.
If the Vikings cannot force Murray into mistakes or Murray makes one or two on his own, then Arizona may have an easy time of it.
A quarterback duel in Week 2?
While Cousins and Murray can both light up a scoreboard, it may be Murray that does it a little more in Week 2. Arizona’s defensive front seven, led by Chandler Jones (five sacks, two forced fumbles in Week 1) will cause Cousins more problems. Again, Murray has speed and Cousins does not.Advertising Disclosure
There’s a slight chance that Arizona’s offense bogs down a bit allowing Minnesota to stay in this game longer. If Murray and Arizona play at last week’s pace, that is less likely.
Expect the Arizona quarterback to start making a case for the Pro Bowl and maybe more as Arizona covers the spread. Take the over as well.
The Picks: Cardinals -4 (-110); 1 Unit, Ov 50.5, (-110); 1 unit