GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -The Minnesota Vikings can't clinch the NFC North in Arizona on Sunday. Staying alone in first place should be motivation enough.
With the Chicago Bears' overtime victory over New Orleans on Thursday night, the Vikings cling to a half-game lead as they head from to the desert to face a Cardinals team that clinched its division title a week ago.
Minnesota (8-5) would have wrapped up its first division title since 2002 with a victory at Arizona and a Bears' loss to the Saints.
The Vikings will have defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat 1/4 after a Minnesota judge on Thursday extended a preliminary injunction against their suspensions by the NFL for violating the league's anti-doping policy.
Quarterback Gus Frerotte, though, is likely to miss the game with a shoulder injury, with Tarvaris Jackson in line for his first start since he lost the job two games into the season.
d end with Adrian Peterson, the NFL's leading rusher who needs 109 yards to break the franchise single-season rushing record.
``He's in a league of his own, man,'' Arizona defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. ``He breaks tackles, he's dangerous, every given play he can take it to the house. I was emphasizing that to my team, make sure we run to the ball and make sure we wrap up because one mistake can cost us seven points.''
Peterson has eight 100-yard rushing games this season, tied with Robert Smith for most in franchise history. He is on track to become the fifth player in NFL history to reach 3,000 yards rushing over his first two seasons.
``He's a violent runner,'' Minnesota coach Brad Childress said. ``He doesn't take plays off. He wants to be good, a tremendous competitor. The minute you tell him he can't do anything, he'll try to show you he can.''
Peterson could be Minnesota's best hope for slowing down the Cardinals, who have the No. 2 passing attack in the NFL.
``Each week teams come in with definitely one focus, and that's to stop the run, and continuously we have been successful still,'' Peterson said. ``So that's our main focus when we come into the game. When you face teams like Arizona, teams that are outstanding throwing the ball, your best defense can be your offense.''
gh, through the air. Kurt Warner is having the kind of season that harkens to his league MVP days. He has perhaps the best tandem of receivers in Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. Both have topped 1,000 yards receiving for the season.
``Without question they are very, very good,'' Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. ``They make a lot of plays and they have a quarterback that does a great job of getting the football to them where they want it. They'll be something to contend with, for sure.''
And it doesn't stop with Boldin and Fitzgerald. The Cardinals' third receiver, Steve Breaston, is just 137 yards shy of 1,000.
Minnesota can only hope for a better trip than its last one to Arizona. That was in the 2003 regular-season finale, when the Cardinals' Josh McCown threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Nate Poole on the last play of the game, giving Arizona an 18-17 victory that knocked the Vikings out of playoff contention.
The Cardinals (8-5) have come a long way since. They've sold out every regular-season game in their three seasons at University of Phoenix Stadium and have ensured themselves a home playoff game for the first time since they beat Philadelphia for the NFL championship in 1947.
st their second winning season in 24 years.
But this division-winning stuff is foreign territory, and a letdown is possible.
Warner, who knows what it's like to go beyond a first-round playoff game, can't understand why that would happen.
``We're trying to play our best football, better than we've played all year long, continue to improve so we're hitting our peak when it comes playoff time,'' he said. ``Maybe it's different because I've been there before, but my whole goal is to win a championship. To think that we've accomplished really anything at this point is kind of crazy.''
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