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Minnesota Vikings look to Cardinals offense as confidence builder

Dilip Vishwanat

Entering last week's game against the Washington Redskins, the Minnesota Vikings were allowing 15.2 points, but in one swoop Robert Griffin III helped hang 38 points on the defense. All of a sudden the unit looked a lot more fallible. Now Jared Allen and Co. look to take advantage of a reeling Arizona Cardinals offense, and get their confidence back.

The Vikings have 15 sacks in 2012, but managed to bring down Robert Griffin III just once-- and while this looks bad, it's largely due to a Mike Shanahan game plan which kept his rookie QB out of harm's way for much of the day. Speaking to the media today, Jared Allen talked about his frustration and inability to get to the quarterback.

"All we saw was bootlegs," Allen said. "So you can't sit there and say we're going to lick our chops and get after the quarterback all we want because then you're going to get burnt by the run."

It's here where the Vikings can start licking their chops, because statuesque John Skelton returns to being the Cardinals' starting quarterback while Kevin Kolb nurses a rib injury. Arizona have been unable to protect their quarterbacks this year, allowing a league-high 28 sacks.

The latest benefactors of the Cardinals' pass-protection ineptitude were the Buffalo Bills. Fighting off their own questions whether their defense could live up to expectations, or if free agent Mario Williams was worth the $100 million contract they gave him, they finished with five sacks-- silencing critics, at least for another week.

Jared Allen knows the key to detrailing Arizona's offense:

"Watching the game film, the reason teams have been successful [with sacks] is they've forced the Cardinals to be in situations where they've had to go down the field,"

The lack of a running game, change at quarterback, and poor pass protection will cause Arizona to be forced into a long field, and help Minnesota get their groove back.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.