Rookie Teddy Bridgewater showed he was better than the third team defense of the Arizona Cardinals. Down 21-13, he led the team to lead 24-21, and after a strange Cardinals touchdown to take the lead, Bridgewater drove the Vikings down the field for a touchdown to give his team a 30-28 win.
The first team offense for Arizona looked effective on their first drive. They marched down the field for a touchdown in nine plays, going 93 yards in just under three and a half minutes. It ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Dwyer. Jaron Brown made the play of the drive with a screen pass he took for 51 yards.
The starting defense did not look as crisp. After forcing a quick punt, they allowed the Vikings to score a field goal. Then, in the next Minnesota drive, tight end Kyle Rudolph beat the secondary for 51-yard touchdown catch.
Drew Stanton led the team down the field, hitting tight end Darren Fells in the end zone on fourth down to give the Cardinals a 14-10 lead. Jaron Brown also highlighted the drive with a leaping 35-yard reception to get the Cards in the red zone.
Minnesota would kick a field goal to pull in the last minute of the first half.
The Vikings starters played the entire first half, while the Cardinals had their second team defense in the second quarter.
In the second half, Ryan Lindley entered the game and, with mostly running plays, led a 19-play drive that ended with a Robert Hughes touchdown run from two yards out.
Minnesota answered with a field goal to pull within five points at 21-16 with Teddy Bridgewater in the game.
Then, after an Arizona punt, Bridgewater picked apart the third string defense and gave the Vikings the lead, hitting tight end Adam Reisner for a touchdown. They converted the two-point conversion to take a 24-21 lead. It was a 10-play, 68-yard drive.
The Cardinals had a chance with just under two minutes left. They started their drive in Minnesota territory with 1:49 left. Two incompletions and a penalty made their chances look bleak, but the Vikings were called for a personal foul that gave the Cards life.
On a deep throw to Kevin Ozier, the Vikings were flagged for pass interference, which put the ball at the five. Lindley looked awful after that. He missed a wide open Darren Fells on first down for a touchdown, threw the ball out the back of the end zone and then had another incompletion in the back of the end zone with a wide open Walt Powell at the goalline.
On fourth down, he fumbled the snap, but John Estes batted the ball away from the pile of players and running back Zach Bauman scooped up the ball and ran it in for the score.
But with 1:11 left, Bridgewater led a seven-play, 83-yard drive in 53 seconds, hitting Rodney Smith for a touchdown with 18 second left. The extra point was missed, but it didn't matter.
Bridgewater was 16/20 for 177 yards and two touchdowns.
For the Cardinals, Carson Palmer was 4/8 for 91 yards. Drew Stanton was 6/8 for 81 yards and a score, while Lindley was 8/15 for 64 yards.
Robert Hughes led Arizona rushers with 26 yards on nine carries and a score, while Jaron Brown led in receiving with 86 yards on two catches.
Arizona will play at home on Sunday night against the Cincinnati Bengals next week.
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