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Monday, December 7, 2009
Around the NFC West: Cardinals rise up

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' defense redeemed itself against Minnesota after allowing a 99-yard touchdown drive a week earlier. Darnell Dockett: "Yeah, but that bad thing about today is I'm anxious to watch the news because I'm pretty sure everybody's going to talk about what Brett Favre did wrong ... not about how our defense stood up."

Also from McManaman: Michael Adams' interception was a key play for Arizona.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic cannot remember a time when the Cardinals defeated a good opponent as thoroughly as they defeated the previously 10-1 Vikings. Somers: "It was interesting talking to some of the defensive players last week. I asked a few about what Brett Favre was doing differently this year, given he had been intercepted just three times. A handful of players told me Favre didn't look much different, that he was still taking chances with the ball and that his receivers were making great catches. I got the feeling the Cardinals felt like they could get to some passes. They did. They intercepted two and strong safety Adrian Wilson could have had two more. Not easy catches, but he could have made them."

Also from Somers: a game story noting that the Cardinals looked a lot like the team that advanced through the NFC playoffs.

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals bounced back from their 2008 defeats to Brett Favre (then with the Jets) and the Vikings. Bickley: "The Cardinals had twice the motivation. They wanted a piece of Favre, who threw six touchdown passes against Arizona last season as a member of the Jets. They wanted a chunk of the Vikings, who punished the Cardinals in Glendale last season. The latter beating was so profound that Adrian Wilson placed a stat sheet from the game inside the trunk of his car, serving as a daily visual reminder."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com offers postgame notes. He likes what Antrel Rolle offers in the Wildcat offense, although watching Rolle carry the ball so loosely made me think the play call could have resulted in disaster for Arizona.

Also from Urban: Adams would like Favre to autograph the football he intercepted.

More from Urban: Quarterback Kurt Warner walked with a limp after the game. The Vikings hit him in the hip on his final pass attempt. This was not the same hip Warner had surgically repaired during the offseason.

Don Banks of SI.com must be feeling pretty smart after writing a column coincidentally featuring the same headline that appeared on mine. Banks: "Near misses get you nowhere in the NFL, but the fact remains that Arizona is a 99-yard Vince Young-led drive away from being 9-3 at the moment, with five consecutive wins and eight victories in its past nine games. As is, its 7-2 since starting 1-2, and these Cardinals have really put things together. But until Sunday night, we really hadn't noticed, because the Saints were streaking to 12-0 and the Vikings were surging to 10-1 behind Favre's historic season."