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Cardinals top Vikings, clinch playoffs

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Linebacker Dwight Freeney stripped the ball from Teddy Bridgewater with 5 seconds left to deprive the Vikings a chance at the tying field goal and the Cardinals clinched a playoff berth with a 23-20 victory Thursday night.

Bridgewater moved the Vikings to the Arizona 31, well within the range of Blair Walsh. But Freeney hit the quarterback's arm as he tried to pass. The ball came loose and defensive end Calais Campbell recovered.

Chandler Catanzaro's 47-yard field goal with 1:23 left gave Arizona its seventh straight win. Bridgewater passed for 335 yards and a touchdown for the Vikings, who were playing without four defensive starters.

Carson Palmer threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns for the Cardinals.

WATT SCOFFS AT BROKEN HAND: Texans defensive end J.J. Watt isn't worried about people trying to come after him Sunday to take advantage of his broken left hand. "Let them try," Watt said. "I mean what? The opposing players come after me every week with every type of thing in the book you can think of. So feel free, go ahead come at me." Watt broke his left hand in practice Wednesday but said he'll play Sunday against the Patriots.

GRONK PRACTICES: Tight end Rob Gronkowski was back on the practice field, 11 days after suffering a knee injury. With no timeline set on his return, Gronkowski, who sprained his right knee and also suffered a bone bruise, was back after missing four practices. The workout was not in full pads and there was no indication whether he will play Sunday.

Cutler tragedy: A body believed to be that of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler's brother-in-law was discovered in an isolated part of southern Utah, nearly two weeks after his car was found abandoned nearby, authorities said. The remains that investigators think are Michael Cavallari, 30 — brother of reality TV personality Kristin Cavallari — were found Thursday morning, Grand County Sheriff Steven White said. He was found near the bottom of a steep hillside filled with boulders, about 3 miles northwest of where his car was discovered Nov. 27, White said. There were no signs of foul play. Frigid temperatures in the area might have factored in, White said. Temperatures were at or below freezing every night since the car was found.

EAGLES' MURRAY HAPPY: DeMarco Murray is happy he signed with the Eagles, the 2014 NFL rushing champion proclaimed in his first comments to the media since a report said he complained about his role Sunday to owner Jeffrey Lurie on the plane ride home after a win over the Patriots. Murray said he sat next to Lurie by coincidence. "I love playing for this team, I love the fans," Murray said. "When I signed on that dotted line, I knew I was going to be here for a long time, and I'm committed to win a lot of games here." Murray has been a bust after leaving Dallas and signing a $40 million, five-year contract. He played just 14 of 61 snaps in the upset at New England, and coach Chip Kelly said Murray was unhappy with his role. "I wouldn't say I was disappointed," Murray said. "Obviously, we won the game so I … was happy for that. But every player wants the opportunity to contribute to the team, especially me as a competitor."

Browns: Tight end Gary Barnidge signed a contract extension. Barnidge has had an unexpected breakout season with a team-leading 60 receptions for 817 yards and seven touchdowns. He entered the year with 44 catches in seven NFL seasons, five with Carolina. The 30-year-old is in the final year of his contract and was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Jets: Darrelle Revis returned to the practice field for the first time since suffering a concussion in a game Nov. 22. The cornerback wore his helmet and a red no-contact jersey. He has missed two games, and his status remains uncertain.

Cardinals top Vikings, clinch playoffs 12/10/15 [Last modified: Thursday, December 10, 2015 11:50pm]
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