Final

Vikings 35

(9-5, 4-4 away)

Cardinals 14

(8-6, 5-2 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:05 PM ET, December 14, 2008

U of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ 

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 21 7 7 035
ARI 0 0 14 014

Top Performers

Passing: K. Warner (ARI) - 270 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: A. Peterson (MIN) - 28 CAR, 165 YDS

Receiving: J. Urban (ARI) - 3 REC, 82 YDS, 1 TD

Jackson takes advantage of start with four TDs to help Vikes steamroll Cards

Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Watching from the sidelines all those weeks turned out to be just what Tarvaris Jackson needed.

Fast Facts

• The Vikings defense has allowed 16 or fewer points in four straight games.

• The Cardinals were shut out in the first half for second time this season (Week 4 vs. the Jets).

• Adrian Peterson rushed for 165 yards, his fourth-highest total in any game in his career, second-best this season. He has 1,578 rush yards this season, breaking Robert Smith's single-season record (1,521, 2000)

• Minnesota has won four straight overall, surpassing their 2007 win total with their ninth win of the season. They've now won seven of their last eight games against the Cardinals.

-- ESPN research

• Rapid Reaction

When he got another chance to start on Sunday, everything came so much easier.

Playing in place of injured Gus Frerotte, Jackson threw for four touchdowns and the Minnesota Vikings beat NFC West champion Arizona 35-14 to stay alone atop the NFC North.

"People ask me did watching Gus help," Jackson said. "I can't really point out exactly what helped. But I felt like I've come a long ways since I've been watching him the last what, 12 or 13 weeks."

Adrian Peterson rushed for 165 yards on 28 carries, his franchise record ninth 100-yard game of the season for the Vikings (9-5), who won their fourth in a row. In the process, Peterson broke Minnesota's single-season rushing record with two games to play. The Vikings can clinch the division title with another victory or loss by Chicago.

Vikings Cardinals

NFL.com Video

Watch highlights from the Minnesota Vikings' 35-14 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Bernard Berrian scored Minnesota's first two touchdowns -- on an 82-yard punt return and 41-yard reception -- as the Vikings led 21-0 in the first quarter and 28-0 at the half.

Jackson, who lost his starting job two games into the season, had touchdown passes of 41, 6, 11 and 59 yards. The last was to Bobby Wade in the waning seconds of the third quarter after Arizona had cut the lead to 28-14. Jackson was 11-for-17 for 163 yards.

"He looked real good," Peterson said. "He looked poised, he looked comfortable out there. He made some big plays."

But don't even ask coach Brad Childress about whether Jackson will start even when Frerotte is healthy. A reporter didn't even get the question out before Childress cut him off.

"Don't even go there," Childress said. "It's a nice luxury to have two guys. We've said all the way along we're probably going to need a couple to get it done."

Arizona (8-6) fell flat a week after clinching its first division title in 33 years. Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett called it "a lackadaisical effort."

The Cardinals lost at home for the second time this season in the team's most one-sided defeat there in Ken Whisenhunt's two seasons as coach.

"It appeared to me in the game that we did not come out ready to play," Whisenhunt said. "That's something we had concerns about because we hadn't handled success that well in the past."

Minnesota put pressure on Kurt Warner all afternoon to hold down an Arizona passing game ranked No. 2 in the NFL. Warner was 29-of-45 for 270 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

"We don't have any room for letdowns or games like this. We've got to keep getting better," Warner said. "But that's a good football team, good on the offensive and defensive lines, and I think that's where this game was really won and lost today."

And it was never really close.

After Anquan Boldin dropped a pass that would have been a first down for the Cardinals, Berrian took the punt down the left sideline 82 yards for the score. The next time Arizona had the ball, Warner overthrew Steve Breaston, who could only tip it, and Cedric Griffin's one-handed interception gave Minnesota the ball at the Cardinals 47.

Jackson threw a perfect lob down the right sideline on third-and-15 to Berrian for a 41-yard touchdown and it was 14-0 with 6:39 still to go in the first.

Arizona turned it over again the next time, too. Boldin was stripped of the ball by Antoine Winfield and Darren Sharper returned the fumble 20 yards to the Cardinals 23. Six plays later, again on third down, Jackson threw 6 yards to Sidney Rice to put Minnesota up 21-0 with 2:43 remaining in the first quarter.

Then the Vikings turned to their potent ground game. Peterson ran 32 yards on second-and-20 at the Minnesota 9 line to ignite a 12-play, 91-yard drive that used up 7:06 and ended with Jackson's 11-yard TD pass to Chester Taylor.

Jerheme Urban broke free on a 50-yard scoring pass play from Warner on the third play of the second half to make it 28-7. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie blocked Ryan Longwell's 35-yard field goal try and Rod Hood returned it 68 yards for a touchdown that cut the lead to 28-14.

But there would be no comeback. Wade faked out cornerback Hood and was wide open down the right sideline for 59 yards and the score that made it a 21-point game.

The Vikings entered the game 3-4 on the road, but a lot of people from Minnesota move to the desert.

Childress said he asked his team before the game "Where do we play our best ball?"

"And they said 'Home,'" Childress said. "I said, 'You see all those purple jerseys in the stands out there?' I said, 'It's going to be a home environment. We're going to make it a home environment.' I was glad we were able to do that."

Game notes


Minnesota DT Pat Williams left the game in the second quarter after aggravating a shoulder injury. Williams has been playing because a federal judge in Minnesota issued an injunction blocking his league suspension for violating the subtance abuse policy. ... Arizona must win one of its last two to avoid a second straight 8-8 season. ... Matt Leinart was in the last series for the Cardinals, just the second time he's played this season. The other was mop-up duty in Game 2 against Miami.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MIN
ARI
1st Downs2016
Passing 1st downs
513
Rushing 1st downs
141
1st downs from penalties
12
3rd down efficiency
10-154-13
4th down efficiency
0-02-3
Total Plays6461
Total Yards396316
Yards per play6.25.2
Total Drives1311
Passing157273
Comp-Att
11-1732-50
Yards per pass
7.95.1
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-64-25
Rushing23943
Rushing Attempts
447
Yards per rush
5.46.1
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-40-2
Penalties6-345-60
Turnovers12
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
01
Defensive / Special Teams TDs11
Possession34:3425:26

Passing Leaders

MINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Jackson11/171639.6403-6
ARIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Warner29/452706.0114-25
Leinart3/5285.6000-0

Rushing Leaders

MINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Peterson281655.9032
Taylor10666.6020
ARICARYDSAVGTDLG
Arrington22311.5016
Hightower5204.008

Receiving Leaders

MINRECYDSAVGTDLG
Wade26733.5159
Berrian14141.0141
ARIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Urban38227.3150
Fitzgerald55210.4023

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMINARI
minTD11:24Bernard Berrian 82 Yard Punt Return (Ryan Longwell Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 82 yds, 0:00
70
minTD6:46Bernard Berrian 41 Yard Pass From Tarvaris Jackson (Ryan Longwell Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 47 yds, 2:51
140
minTD2:48Sidney Rice 6 Yard Pass From Tarvaris Jackson (Ryan Longwell Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 23 yds, 3:13
210
SECOND QUARTERMINARI
minTD2:13Chester Taylor 11 Yard Pass From Tarvaris Jackson (Ryan Longwell Kick is Good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 91 yds, 7:06
280
THIRD QUARTERMINARI
ariTD13:55Jerheme Urban 50 Yard Pass From Kurt Warner (Neil Rackers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 73 yds, 1:17
287
ariTD4:41Roderick Hood 68 Yard Return of Blocked Field Goal (Neil Rackers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 64 yds, 5:10
2814
minTD0:27Bobby Wade 59 Yard Pass From Tarvaris Jackson (Ryan Longwell Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yds, 4:10
3514