Two stout defenses collided when the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings met in the Metrodome in Minneapolis on Sunday. The Vikings (5-2) outlasted the Cardinals (4-3) in the slugfest that featured a slew of sacks and turnovers.

The Vikings sacked Cardinals QB John Skelton seven times and S Harrison Smith’s pick-6 became the winning points in Minnesota's 21-14 victory. Neither Skelton nor Vikings QB Christian Ponder could get much going through the air and relied on their running backs.

Slippery Cardinals RB LaRod Stephens-Howling broke tackles all afternoon, making the first player always miss. He ground out 104 yards on 20 carries and had the Cardinals' first score, tying the game at 7.

But Vikings RB Adrian Peterson was better. He powered his way through tacklers and left others in his tracks as he opened the game’s scoring with a hard, 13-yard run. Peterson pounded out 153 yards, accounting for all but 13 of the Vikings' total rushing yards. The passing game could muster only 43 yards as the Cardinals' defense hounded Ponder all afternoon. 

The Vikings led 21-7 in the second half on Smith’s pick-6, and they were able to tee off on Skelton, who was often pressured into bad throws. The Cardinals' offensive line, which had allowed 22 sacks of QB Kevin Kolb in the previous three games, gave up seven more -- most coming in the second half when the Cardinals had to pass to catch up. Skelton brought the Cardinals within a score in the fourth quarter, but it was ultimately not enough offense on a day of defense.

“It hurts any time you lose a game,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “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 enough opportunities to make plays to win and you don’t get it done. That’s tough.”

When the game turned: The Vikings were starting to leak oil at the end first half when Ponder threw an interception, and the Cardinals nearly cashed in with a gift field goal. The momentum had switched to Arizona in the second half until Skelton, under heavy pressure, scrambled forward out of the pocket and threw into double coverage. The Vikings’ Smith grabbed the ball near the turf and returned it for the touchdown. It gave Minnesota a two-touchdown lead and ultimately provided the winning points. 

Highlight moments: Smith was nearly on his knees when he grabbed Skelton’s third-quarter pass for a pick-6. He ran left, then, with the vision and a jab step worthy of Peterson, went right, and bowled over a couple would-be tacklers on the way to the first touchdown of his NFL career.

Vikings RB Peterson had his best day since returning from knee surgery. After missing two days of practice early in the week with an ankle injury, he ran for 153 yards. No carry was nicer than his first-quarter, 13-yard touchdown run. He sprinted off tackle, cut-stepped right and fired through the hole, carrying several Cardinals with him as he plowed toward the end zone and stretched his hand across the line for the score.

With the Cardinals moving the ball in the third quarter and trailing by two touchdowns, Skelton rolled out right on fourth-and-2 on the Minnesota 18. Vikings CB Antoine Winfield was covering a receiver and watching Skelton. At the moment Skelton committed to run, Winfield left his receiver and flipped Skelton (with the help of DE Brian Robison) short of the first down. The Vikings took over.

Top-shelf performances:

•   RB Peterson -- Peterson ran 23 times for 153 yards and a touchdown. His 100-yard game tied him with former RB Robert Smith for the team record of 29.

•   DE Robison -- Robison, who had one sack this season coming into the game, had a career-high three Sunday.

•   RB Stephens-Howling -- The Cardinals' third-string running back rushed 20 times for 104 yards and a touchdown and had four catches for 45 yards. He made tacklers look as if they had forgotten their roles, including LB Chad Greenway, who came into the week leading the league in tackles.

•   CB Winfield -- He was the Vikings' leading tackler with 11 (10 solo), and none was bigger than his sack of Skelton on fourth-and-2 on the Vikings' 18-yard line. 

What they said about S Smith’s pick-6:

•   Vikings S Smith: “As soon as you get the ball, [you are thinking touchdown]. You know, especially as a defender, you don’t get a lot of chances to do that, so you just get excited and do whatever you can to get into the end zone.” 

What they said about RB Peterson’s record-tying performance:

•   Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph -- “He was [a beast]. You give a lot of credit to Adrian, but the offensive line, wide receivers, tight ends and running backs all played a big part in that.”

What they said about Winfield’s sack on fourth-and-2:

•   Cardinals QB Skelton -- “We thought that by the way we were running the ball, we’d be able to catch the corner. They played it really well, though, and stayed outside.”

Numbers you should knowPonder was 8 of 17 for 58 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. The first pick came after he had escaped the pocket and badly overthrew TE Rudolph. The INT led to a Cardinals' touchdown. The second came when Ponder was under duress and should have thrown the ball away. It almost cost the team a field goal right before halftime.

Injury updates: Vikings TE John Carlson left the game in the fourth quarter and was given concussion tests. Coach Leslie Frazier said they would continue testing him over the next 48 hours.

Going forward: Cardinals -- The Cardinals return home to host the 49ers on Monday night, Oct. 29. The Niners will get three extra days' rest (having played on Thursday), so they should be ready to defend their NFC West lead. Vikings -- The Vikings have a quick turnaround, hosting Tampa Bay on Thursday night in Minneapolis. 

For more Vikings news and notes, follow Joe Oberle on Twitter @CBSVikings.