This Sunday's battle between the 4-2 Arizona Cardinals and the 4-2 Minnesota Vikings features two surprising teams looking to make their way back to the playoffs. The Cardinals find themselves in a three-way tie for first in the NFC West with San Francisco and Seattle, while the Vikings are currently one-half game behind Chicago in the NFC North.
In their 93rd season of the franchise, the Cardinals have only made the postseason eight times. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt has led the team to two of those appearances in 2008 and 2009. Currently with a 44-42 record, Whisenhunt is the all-time leader in wins and a mere three games from coaching the most games in the history of Cardinals football.
They face one of the early surprises of the NFL in the Vikings. After two consecutive last-place finishes in the NFC North, including a 3-13 finish last year, the Vikings had plenty of NFL pundits believing in them after three straight wins against the 49ers, Lions and Titans—two of them playoff teams from last season.
Both teams suffered what might be considered bad losses last week. The Cardinals lost 19-16 in overtime at home to the Buffalo Bills. At the same time, Robert Griffin III blew away the Vikings with 320 total combined yards and three touchdowns, leading the Redskins to a 38-26 win.
Both teams will be looking to get back on the winning track in order to keep pace within their respective divisions and hopefully position themselves for a playoff position.
Here are 10 keys for the Minnesota Vikings.