The Breakdown: Cardinals @ Vikings

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An in-depth preview of the Cardinals' road matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.

GAME SNAPSHOT

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET
GAMEDATE: 11/7/10
SURFACE: FieldTurf
TV: FOX, Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa


PREDICTION: Vikings 30-16

KEYS TO THE GAME: Arizona must eliminate turnovers to find the consistency it seeks. With 23 turnovers in seven games, the Cardinals can play themselves into a deficit quickly -- they also have a meager 17 first-quarter points all season. If RB Beanie Wells (knee) is limited, a diet of short and safe throws should be the order for QB Derek Anderson, who has his starting job back from ineffective rookie Max Hall. Vikings QB Brett Favre expects to play despite an injured ankle and eight stitches in his chin. Sans Randy Moss, expect Favre to spread the ball around, but Minnesota needs another wideout to emerge opposite Percy Harvin, who is most dangerous out of the slot. RB Adrian Peterson leads the NFL in rushing and faces Arizona's 29th-ranked run defense.

FAST FACTS: Minnesota was won six of the past eight in the series. ... Arizona has lost consecutive games for the first time since December 2008.

INSIDE THE CAMPS

Cardinals

Running back Beanie Wells missed a good portion of the two most significant practice days of the week after having an adverse reaction to an injection in his right knee.

The drug Orthovisc is designed to provide additional lubrication in the joint, but Wells suffered significant swelling after the injection and did only a minimal amount of work on Wednesday and Thursday.

He likely will be a game-time decision Sunday in Minneapolis.

Wells started his first NFL game last week and gained 50 yards on 16 carries. He was expected to start again before this recent setback.

Wells underwent surgery in September to repair a meniscus tear, and the injection was a normal part of his follow-up treatment.

Wells needs to practice more on Friday in order to play a significant role in Minneapolis. "You want to go out there and play full speed, not swelling up to where I can't bend my knee," he said.

If Wells can't start, then the Cardinals likely will revert to starting Tim Hightower. Hightower has been an effective runner this year when he has not fumbled. He has lost three fumbles, which led to his benching.

Vikings

Sidney Rice isn't expected to be ready for Sunday's game against Arizona but the Vikings' wide receiver is getting closer to returning from hip surgery that he had in August.

Rice, who turned into a Pro Bowl player last season, is on the physically unable to perform list and started practicing with the Vikings on Wednesday.

That triggered a three-week window in which the Vikings can judge Rice's progress and see if he's ready to return this season. Indications are that Rice will be back sometime this month.

"It felt great," Rice said of getting back on the practice field. "It was awesome to be out there running around. It felt great when I was running. (It's) a little sore today, a lot of tightness in there."

Rice, who led the Vikings with 83 receptions for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns last season, has refused to speculate on when he might return. The soreness he experienced is a normal part of the process and no cause for concern.

Rice's presence on the field would be especially important given that wide receiver Randy Moss was put on waivers this week after only four games because things didn't work out with him.

"I'm excited to see him out there," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said of Rice. "It's good to have him just back out there practicing. He brings a certain energy with him.

"He looked good moving around. Always the next day you expect them to be sore, regardless of how much they've done up to this point. When you put them back on the field it's a different level of intensity. He's a little bit sore, just in terms of muscles and going at that speed. But he looked good and we'll continue to push. I know that he and the trainers have a plan on when he'll get back out there."

PERSONNEL NEWS

Cardinals

--QB Derek Anderson returns to the starting role after serving as Max Hall's backup the past three weeks. Anderson did inject some life into the offense in reserve appearances the past two weeks. He also had an interception that ended the Cardinals hopes of tying or winning last week's game against the Bucs.

--QB Max Hall has been benched after struggling in three starts. Hall appeared to be overwhelmed at times by the speed of the game and the complex defensives he was seeing.

--RB Tim Hightower could return to the starting role if Beanie Wells is unable to play because of knee troubles. Hightower lost the starting job a week ago and had only one carry against Tampa Bay.

--RB LaRod Stephens-Howling can be a dynamic third-down back if the team can keep games close, which enables coaches to use the entire offensive game plan. Stephens-Howling is difficult to defend when he has some space.

--RB Jason Wright will play a limited role on offense, but the club will use him on screens and draws.

--WR Steve Breaston had 147 receiving yards last week, a career high. Breaston is more than just a complementary player to Larry Fitzgerald. He's a dynamic receiver in his own right.

--WR Early Doucet is back in the No. 3 role but hasn't been able to produce much yet. That's mostly the fault of the Cardinals' quarterbacks for not managing the offense efficiently.

--WR Larry Fitzgerald caught two touchdown passes last week and is getting open as much as he usually does. The quarterbacks have had difficulty getting him the ball.

--TE Ben Patrick isn't a big part of the passing game. With Breaston, Fitzgerald and Doucet healthy, the Cardinals won't use the tight end much.

--TE Stephen Spach is mainly a blocker and will rarely be a target in the passing game.

--PK Jay Feely has a strong leg and his only miss this season in eight attempts was from 54 yards.

Vikings

--QB Brett Favre did limited work in practice on Thursday after sitting out Wednesday because of a stress fracture in his left ankle and fracture in his left heel. He also is dealing with a gash in his chin that required 10 stitches Sunday.

--WR Percy Harvin did not practice Wednesday or Thursday because of an ankle sprain and there is a chance he won't be able to play Sunday.

--CB Chris Cook (quadriceps) was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday.

--OL Chris DeGeare (ankle) was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday.

--LB Ben Leber (knee) was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday.

--CB Lito Sheppard (hand) was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday.

--CB Frank Walker (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday.

--NT Pat Williams (elbow) was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday.

--CB Asher Allen (back) was able to take part in all of Wednesday and Thursday's practice.

--C John Sullivan (calf) was able to take part in all of Wednesday and Thursday's practice.

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