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Vikings-Cardinals matchup of the day: Wednesday

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By Christian West

Here's a key matchup to watch in Sunday's Vikings-Cardinals game.

Vikings cornerbacks vs. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald

At this point, the Vikings have to be sick of playing tall, physical receivers. After handling Chargers WR Vincent Jackson with success in Week One, struggling (as everyone has) to stop Lions WR Calvin Johnson in Week Three and giving up a 52-yard touchdown to Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe in Week Four, the Vikings get the pleasure of dealing with Fitzgerald Sunday.

The Minneapolis native's greatest strength is going up and getting the ball at its highest point in traffic, like he did last week against the Giants, when he snared a jump ball over Giants SS Deon Grant for a 47-yard gain.

Vikings CB Chris Cook had some success dealing with Johnson deep, making a nice play in one-on-one coverage on a jump ball. But despite that play, Johnson still ended up with 108 yards and two touchdowns, as well as the critical 40-yard reception to set up the game-winning field goal.

A guy as talented as Fitzgerald is going to get his touches. There's no way to prevent it as Kevin Kolb force-feeds him the ball (almost nine targets per game). The key is keeping those in the short-to-intermediate area while keeping a safety over the top to double-team him on anything deep.

CBs Cook, Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin need to use their physicality at the line and make Fitzgerald work for everything short. If the Cardinals try to stretch the field, make them do it with someone not named Larry Fitzgerald.

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