We learned the Arizona Cardinals defense didn't have the greatest game in terms of grading from Pro Football Focus. They did get the win and a key sack and turnover, but they also missed 11 tackles in the game. What about the offensive side of the ball? PFF tells us left tackle Jared Veldheer struggled and rookie running back David Johnson was very good.
In their weekly gradebook for each team, the struggles of Veldheer are highlighted. He allowed seven total disruptions and earned his lowest grade of the year for a game at -3.6.
The line was a little better at pass protection overall. Quarterback Carson Palmer was pressured on 16 of his 38 dropbacks, but the Vikings only blitzed five times the entire game. Those pressures came from one-on-one matchups.
On the more positive side of things, running back David Johnson, who by the numbers outplayed Adrian Peterson, earned the highest grade of any Cardinals running back all season, a +2.1.
As noted in an article focusing on Johnson, the rookie gained 51 of his 92 yards rushing after contact. 42 percent of his carries went for at least five yards, something key when you want to keep an offense on schedule for calling plays. And it came in a game in which PFF graded the Cardinals run blocking less than stellar. (It is worth noting the Cardinals have been one of the highest-graded run blocking teams all year.)
Also noted by PFF was the poor play of Troy Niklas in run blocking. The tight end, who was drafted because of his potential as a blocker, earned a poor -3.5 in his first start.