News and Notes from Around the NFL

Football

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals have become the second NFL team to wrap up a playoff berth, thanks to a little thievery by one of their oldest newcomers.

The Vikings were one play away from attempting a game-tying field goal until 35-year-old Dwight Freeney stripped quarterback Teddy Bridgewater of the ball in the closing seconds to preserve the Cardinals’ 23-20 win over Minnesota. Bridgewater had marched the Vikings to the Arizona 31 and was about to pass when the 14-year veteran and first-year Cardinal slammed the quarterback’s arm, allowing Calais Campbell to recover the fumble with five seconds left. The game-clinching defensive stop came after Chandler Catanzaro nailed a 47-yard field goal with 1:23 remaining.

Carson Palmer threw a 65-yard scoring pass to John Brown and hit Michael Floyd for a 42-yard TD, but the Cardinals blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter before improving to 11-2. Palmer was 25 of 35 for 310 yards and no interceptions, while David Johnson carried 19 times for 92 yards.

Bridgewater passed for 335 yards and a touchdown for the 8-5 Vikings, who were playing without four defensive starters.

Adrian Peterson ran for an eight-yard TD but had just 69 yards on 23 carries.
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UNDATED (AP) — J.J. Watt says he won’t let a broken hand prevent him from playing Sunday against New England.

The defensive end plans to take aim at Tom Brady this weekend despite breaking his left hand in Wednesday’s practice.

Watt leads the NFL with 13 ½ sacks and is sporting a black cast covering his left hand and wrist.

In other NFL news:

— Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was back on the practice field Thursday, just 11 days after spraining his right knee and suffering a bone bruise in a loss to the Denver Broncos. With no timeline set on his return, Gronkowski was back after missing four New England Patriots practices.

— Cleveland Browns tight end Gary Barnidge has received a three-year contract extension. The 30-year old has a team-high 60 receptions for 817 yards this year.

— Hall of Fame coach and former NFL broadcaster John Madden has been released from the hospital after undergoing open-heart surgery. The league says Madden left a San Francisco hospital on Wednesday and is expected to make a full recovery. The 79-year-old coached the Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, leading the team to a Super Bowl victory after the 1976 season.

— Authorities say a body believed to be that of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler’s brother-in-law has been discovered in southern Utah, nearly two weeks after his car was found abandoned. The Grand County Sheriff’s office said that crews on Thursday discovered the remains believed to be that of Michael Cavallari in a steep and rocky area. Cavallari was arrested in Southern California on an allegation of making threats four days before his 2014 Honda Civic was found in Utah.

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