The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Vikings News

October 20, 2012

Cardinals, Vikings look to avoid starting a slide

(Continued)

MINNEAPOLIS —

But Ponder has turned the ball over five times in the last two weeks and RGIII had the defense completely out of sorts last week in a 38-26 victory.

Now the Vikings enter a crucial stretch with two games in five days — next week they host the Buccaneers on Thursday night — before the schedule starts getting tougher.

"We've got two home games in a row and you never want to lose at home, so that's the biggest deal," Vikings defensive end Brian Robison said. "We want to win these next two games, hopefully be at the halfway point at 6-2. But the bottom line is we can't get that done if we don't beat Arizona this week."

The Vikings can take solace in how they responded to their only other loss of the season. After dropping a Week 2 game at Indianapolis, Antoine Winfield addressed the team to try to insert a sense of urgency and renewed focus into the group. It worked beautifully, with the Vikings ripping off three straight victories before losing to the Redskins.

"Just as you grow as a team as the season goes on, I think our guys know how important it is to focus in on this next opponent and you have to move away from what has happened previously, win or loss," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "We've done a pretty good job. I think we have moved on."

Ponder is trying to recapture the mistake-free form he exhibited earlier this season, but he'll have his hands full doing that against the aggressive Cardinals defense. The Vikings expect to have deep threat Jerome Simpson back after missing last week with a back issue, and he could help loosen the defense up after they saw the Redskins crowd toward the line of scrimmage to take away Harvin and Adrian Peterson, who expects to play with a sprained left ankle.

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