NFL: Arizona Cardinals Beat Injured Minnesota Vikings, Clinch Playoff Berth

Dustin Murrell

This week's NFL Thursday Night Football saw the NFC-West-leading Arizona Cardinals defeat an injury-laden Minnesota Vikings. With the loss, the Minnesota Vikings now trail the rival Green Bay Packers by half a game until Sunday, when the cheese-heads play the Seattle Seahawks. With the win, the Arizona Cardinals have secured a spot in the NFL Playoffs.

This was especially troubling news for Minnesota's defense as they prepared to play the Arizona offense, who leads the NFL in passing yards and points scored.

As noted by Sports Illustrated, the Vikings are still looking for a "statement win," as critics love to point out that Minnesota has only beaten one team this year with a record above.500. After a heartbreaking loss to Arizona, they are now 1-4 against teams with a winning record. Luckily, they have only lost one game to a sub-.500 team, so their overall record is still 8-5 -- good enough to be tied for first place, if the Packers fail to beat the Seahawks on Sunday.

Palmer would throw another touchdown pass for the only score of the third quarter, and a 35-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter put Arizona in the lead by ten points. Minnesota would fight back, however, with a 54-yard field goal and a 7-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace to tie the game 20-20.

In the end, the Cardinals hit another field goal and then made a big defensive stop before the Vikings had a chance to save the game. Palmer took a knee to end the game 23-20.

Next week, the Minnesota Vikings host division rivals Chicago Bears, as they try to keep their post-season chances alive. The Arizona Cardinals will travel to Philadelphia to face the Eagles, who are currently tied for first place in the NFC East, the worst division in the NFL.

[Image via Twitter]