MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — David Blough had a touchdown pass and a rushing score in a second-half rally by the Arizona Cardinals to beat the Minnesota Vikings 18-17 in their final preseason game on Saturday.
Zach McCloud, who joined the team only four days ago, had three of Arizona’s six sacks of Minnesota rookie Jaren Hall.
Davion Davis caught the touchdown pass from Blough, who spent last season on the practice squad with the Vikings and was vying for a spot on an unsettled Cardinals’ depth chart with Kyler Murray still in rehab mode from a torn ACL in his right knee late last season.
Hall, a fifth-round draft pick out of BYU, had his most efficient performance to date in his bid to make the team behind Kirk Cousins and Nick Mullens. The Vikings haven’t kept a third quarterback on the active roster coming out of training camp in seven years.
Hall went 16 for 27 for 178 yards, one touchdown and one interception and rushed six times for 21 yards. His last-chance completion to Ben Sims that would’ve gone for 42 yards and given the Vikings the ball at their 48 with 1:01 left was flagged because he crossed the line of scrimmage on his rollout.
The Vikings finished their first two possessions with touchdowns. Rookie safety Jay Ward, a fourth-round draft pick out of LSU whose potential likely will lead them to keep six players at their deepest position when the roster is trimmed next week, delivered a strip-sack of Clayton Tune that the Vikings recovered at the 5 to set up the second score that came on a pass from Hall to Abram Smith.
The Vikings (0-3), who had more than three dozen players not in pads and watching from the sideline in purple ballcaps, had their meaningless preseason losing streak stretch to 10 straight games. Their last exhibition game win came against Arizona on Aug. 24, 2019.
Hall was at his best in a 2-minute drill near the end of the first half, when he went 5 for 5 for 74 yards in a span of 1:23 to reach the 5. After two incompletions, one dropped by Aaron Dykes and one of McCloud’s sacks, Greg Joseph kicked a 26-yard field goal.
Joseph, whose job was secured last week when undrafted rookie Jack Podlesny was cut, made his first 10 kicks this preseason until a 54-yard attempt that would’ve put the Vikings back in front went wide right with 2:23 remaining.
Matt Prater made two field goals for the Cardinals, including the go-ahead kick with 6:20 left, but he pulled a 46-yard try wide left and also shanked an extra point off the left upright.
Rookie Dewayne McBride had a rushing touchdown for the Vikings, who didn’t play a single projected starter for the second straight week and even rested most of the backups who’ve solidified spots.
Colt McCoy didn’t play for the Cardinals, a sure sign he’ll start Week 1 at quarterback with Murray still out. Blough is in the mix with the rookie Tune, recent acquisition Joshua Dobbs and journeyman Jeff Driskel for a roster spot. Blough went 11 for 22 for 93 yards and no turnovers.
Corey Clement, in his push to be the No. 2 running back behind James Conner with Marlon Mack out for the season, rushed 14 times for 79 yards for the Cardinals (2-1).
Second-round draft pick B.J. Ojulari made his preseason debut after being sidelined by a knee injury. He was credited with one tackle for the Cardinals, who also held out their entire starting lineup after two days of drills this week with the Vikings at their practice facility.
Center Jon Gaines, a fourth-round draft pick by the Cardinals out of UCLA, hurt his right knee on the first snap by the offense. In the second quarter, LG Dennis Daley limped off with an injury to his left leg.
Cardinals: Open the regular season at the Washington Commanders on Sept. 10.
Vikings: Host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their regular-season opener on Sept. 10.