MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Trailing by 14 points midway through the fourth quarter at the Minnesota 37, John Skelton went back to pass and saw the pocket quickly collapse on a fourth-down play.
Kevin Williams finished one of Minnesota's seven sacks, giving the ball back to the Vikings near midfield.
That was one of many missed opportunities for the Arizona Cardinals, who fell 21-14 to Minnesota on Sunday for their third straight loss after starting the season 4-0.
The Cardinals have scored 33 points in the three losses after scoring 91 in their first four games.
"It really hurts when you come into this place, which is a tough place to play, against a good team and you play hard enough and you have missed opportunities to make plays to win and you don't get it done," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
Arizona intercepted the Vikings' Christian Ponder twice.
The Cardinals held the Vikings to 56 total yards in the second half. LaRod Stephens-Howling broke 100 yards rushing.
For all the assistance given Skelton and the Cardinals passing attack, they failed to take advantage.
"We moved the ball up and down the field. Offensively, we were able to run, pass. It was a play here, a play there that stalled a drive and kept us from getting into the end zone," said Skelton, who went 25 for 36 for 262 yards and two turnovers, in place of the injured Kevin Kolb.
Too often, Skelton had little time to set up in the pocket and was forced to throw on the run. Arizona has allowed an NFL-high 35 sacks, including 29 in the past four games.
"I'd rather give up nine sacks and win games rather than give up three and keep losing. We just need to find some kind of balance," left guard Daryn Colledge said.
"I thought for the most part we did pretty good today, but it was one of those things where we shot ourselves in the foot making drives. You can't do that, especially against a defense like this. We knew they could rush the passer. We knew they can shut offenses down."
Still, Skelton hit Andre Roberts for a 6-yard scoring pass with 1:48 left to pull the Cardinals (4-3) within one score, but they tried an onside kick instead of trying to force another punt and Adrian Peterson ended the game with a tough inside run for just Minnesota's the second first down of the second half.