Cardinals, Vikings: A third down nightmare

Oct 6, 2011, 1:09 AM | Updated: 2:17 am

When the Arizona Cardinals offense lines up on third down against the Minnesota Vikings defense this Sunday, it is possible the encounter could create a time paradox; the results of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space time continuum and destroy the entire universe. Granted that’s a worst-case scenario.

The matchup might not be that severe but that is how bad the teams are playing on third down.

The Vikings defense is allowing opponents to convert 45.6 percent of the time, good for 28th in the NFL. The Cardinals offense is converting only 29.8 percent of their third downs putting them at 29th overall in the NFL.

Arizona Sports 620’s Ron Wolfley of the Doug and Wolf show broke down the Minnesota Vikings defense today, calling the unit an enigma.

“They’re number eight in sacks per attempt, they are number five in sacks with 12 on the season,” said Wolfley. “They have a great pass rush.”

A team that is getting to the quarterback typically has the the advantage to win. But the Vikings have been unable to turn that pressure into victories.

“They can’t get off the field,” Wolfley said. “Teams are converting at a rate of 46 percent against the Minnesota Vikings defense.”

Wolfley noted that the Vikings have a defensive quarterback rating of 96 and they rank 28 in passing yards allowed.

“The fact that their 0-4 is a little disturbing to me,” said Wolfley. “Jared Allen on defense right now is out of his mind. He’s on a pace to shatter the NFL sack record.”

Through four weeks, Allen already has 6.5 sacks, putting him on pace for 26 total sacks. The single-season record is 22.5, held by Michael Strahan.

“You’ve got Antoine Winfield at one corner, you have Chad Greenway, a very underrated linebacker,” said Wolfley. “I look at the Minnesota Vikings and I cannot believe they’re 0-4.”

Sunday’s matchup could be exactly what the Cardinals need and at the same time, it could be exactly what the Vikings need.

Something’s gotta give.

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