Larry Fitzgerald, Kevin Kolb: The Keys to Arizona Cardinals Beating Minnesota

Cedric HopkinsContributor IOctober 6, 2011

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2011 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings boast the fifth best run defense in the league, giving up 76 yards per game over the past four weeks. Beanie Wells won't have much room to run.

With the deficiencies found in the Minnesota Vikings' secondary, the Cardinals' passing attack should prove to be pivotal in a win for Arizona this Sunday.  

Starting cornerback for the Minnesota Vikings, Antoine Winfield, underwent an MRI Wednesday to assess an injury to his neck. The Pro Bowler is not expected to play against the Cardinals.

Winfield is by far the Vikings' top cornerback. He leads the Vikings in tackles (35) after four weeks of play.  

The Vikings will call upon Chris Cook to step into Winfield's shoes—not an easy task.  

Cook played last week against the Kansas City Chiefs and allowed Matt Cassel to throw for 260 yards and a touchdown, his most yards thrown this season. Cook is also coming off a strained groin—an injury known to linger.

Kevin Kolb will find Asher Allen on the other side of the Vikings' secondary. Allen has struggled in coverage throughout his three-year career. This year has been no different.

Minnesota is ranked 28th against the pass, surrendering 286 yards per game. 

On the other side of the ball, Kolb has placed Arizona in the top-half of the league for passing yards. This, despite facing some of the top secondaries in the league.

The softest secondary faced by the Cardinals to date has been the New York Giants (18th) last week. Fitzgerald was targeted a team-high 11 times against the Giants.

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 02:  Kevin Kolb #4 of the Arizona Cardinals throws a pass down field against the New York Giants at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. New York won 31-27.   (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

This Sunday, Kolb should again look to Fitzgerald often. The other Cardinal receivers just haven't performed as expected. 

Andre Roberts has struggled mightily during his sophomore campaign. Roberts has caught nine balls in four games, and has yet to break 100 yards receiving—total.  

Early Doucet, who is behind Roberts on the depth chart, is out-performing Roberts—but not by much.

Doucet has caught 13 balls for 217 yards and visited the end zone only once. 

Even worse, Todd Heap was limited in practice on Wednesday and held out on Thursday. His status for Sunday is uncertain. 

Again, Kolb will look to Fitzgerald often against the Vikings.

Larry Fitzgerald and company have every opportunity to dominate a decimated Vikings' secondary.

The crucial question is whether the offensive line will provide Kolb with the needed protection. 

After four weeks, Arizona's offensive line ranks 25th in the league giving up 12 sacks. The Vikings, on the other hand, have sacked opposing quarterbacks 12 times, landing them at fifth in the NFL for sacks.

The spotlight will be on the Cardinals' offensive line. If it can hold back Jared Allen, then the Kolb-Fitzgerald connection should pay dividends this Sunday afternoon.