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Cardinals vs. Vikings final score: Dwight Freeney's sack clinches playoff spot for Arizona in 23-20 win on Thursday Night Football

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It was a tough battle down to the wire, but the defense stood strong once again.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

First Half

After receiving the kick the Cardinals begin moving down the field with big catches by guys like Darren Fells and Larry Fitzgerald while using David Johnson's versatility to run the football. Down on the ten yard line, a close fumble and good Vikings pass rush caused the Cards to settle for a Catanzaro field goal.

Meanwhile, the Vikings offense played like they had solved the Cardinals defense and moved the ball at will. Adrian Peterson averaged 9.5 yards per run and exploiting the Cardinals poor pass defending linebackers with play action the finished with an incredible touchdown run by Peterson.

Carson Palmer and Johns answered quickly as Brown ran in a 65-yard touchdown to regain the lead while the reminder of the quarter was used by the defense to force a 3-and-out.

The Cardinals ended up being stopped by some errant Palmer passes on the first drive of the second quarter allowing the the Vikings to capitalize on the Cardinals aggressive blitzing using screen passes. However, Deone Bucannon came up with big stop by forcing and recovering a fumble at the Cardinals 15 yard line. Without capitalizing on the turnover with points, the Vikings got into the red zone in the two minute warning and ended up getting a sack forcing the Vikings to settle for a 44-yard field goal.

Cardinals 10, Vikings 10

Second Half

After a first half with nearly identical statistics, the Vikings came out and started moving down the field. Teddy Bridgewater continued to use accurate throws to underneath routes to move down the field, but was stopped on when Josh Mauro hit Adrian Peterson during a reverse trick play to force a fumble about mid-field. This time the Cardinals were able to score a touchdown 42 yard catch and run, set up by an insanely good Larry Fitzgerald block (who pancaked the DB).

The Cardinals defense continued to shut down the Vikings offense and forced another three and out. one the next offensive drive capped with a great run by David Johnson, the Cards got down to the two yard line, but due to a sack were forced to settle for a field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Holding the ball for the fourth quarter, the Vikings got back to the basics running the ball successfully and setting up the play action. Bettcher send Tyrann Mathieu on three consecutive blitzs to stop the drive and Blair Walsh hit his longest field of the year for 54 yards.

Starting on the Vikings own ten yard line, Peterson and Bridgewater were able to slowly movedown the field taking advantage (again!) of the Cardinals all out blitzes to throw to wide open players over the middle of the field to finally score and tie the game with 5:00 minutes left the in game.

The Cards began on their 16 yard line and crossed midfield as they hit the two minute warning. After getting into field goal range the Cardinals were forced to settle for a field goal with 1:23 seconds left on the clock and the Vikings starting on their 20 yard line.

After two pass completions, one for the first down, Tony Jefferson sacked Bridgewater and caused the Vikings to use their final timeout. But still running open underneath routes and a terrible substitution by the Cardinals that led to a 12-players-on-the-field penalty, the Vikings were able to get within field goal range.

But with only :13 seconds left in the game, the mid-season pick-up Dwight Freeney used his signature spin move and knocked the ball out of Bridgewater's hand as Campbell recovered the fumble to seal the win, get the playoff spot and be the best football team in Arizona.

Cardinals 23, Vikings 20