GLENDALE, Ariz. — Preseason game No. 2 finds the Cardinals taking on the Minnesota Vikings outdoors on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
It’s the first outdoor experience for the Cardinals since training, which sounds more interesting than it actually is. OK, it doesn’t even sound interesting — not even for a preseason angle.
The real intrigue — if such a thing exists in these games — is the performance of a few players who are trying to win rosters spots. Here’s a look at some guys who must shine on Saturday.
1. Kicker Jay Feely: He’ll debut a new kickoff approach in an effort to get more length on his kicks and prove to coach Bruce Arians that his experience and savvy are worth keeping around. Feely still has to make his field goals after rookie Chandler Catanzaro had a perfect day last Saturday, but the kickoffs are critical to the 38-year-old Feely’s hopes of prolonging his career in Arizona.
Cardinals at Vikings
When: Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
Live TV: Ch. 15
Replay: FOX Sports Arizona, Sunday, 4:30 p.m. (2013 Highlights show at 4 p.m.)
Sitting this one out: Cardinals C Lyle Sendlein (calf) won’t play. LG Jonathan Cooper (toe), LB Kevin Minter (pectoral), NT Bruce Gaston (knee), WR Ted Ginn (knee) and WR Michael Floyd (groin) could all be game-time decisions. For the Vikings, CB Josh Robinson (hamstring) is doubtful. S Robert Blanton (hamstring), NT Linval Joseph (leg), TE Chase Ford (foot), LB Dom DeCicco (hip surgery) and RB Adrian Peterson (too good to waste in preseason) won’t play.
Need to know: QB Matt Cassel could play the whole first half for Minnesota. The Cardinals will also get a look at the Vikings second pick in the first round of the 2014 Draft, QB Teddy Bridgewater from Louisville, who has been an interception machine in camp practices.
2. Quarterback Ryan Lindley: We all know this is an exercise in futility. Carson Palmer is the starter, Drew Stanton is the backup and Bruce Arians attended the same school as fourth-round pick Logan Thomas, who went 11 for 12 in Saturday’s preseason debut and has a lock on the No. 3 QB spot. But we’re going to pretend this is a real competition as teams often do to convince the presumed winner that he needs to show up in preseason games. Lindley, a sixth-round pick in 2012, isn’t eligible for the practice squad (it’s doubtful the Cards would put a QB there anyway), so maybe he can put some good work on film and convince former coach Ken Whisenhunt to bring him to Tennessee to replace Charlie Whitehurst or Zach Mettenberger.
3. Receivers Jaron Brown, Walt Powell and Brittan Golden: GM Steve Keim made it clear on Wednesday that these are the three guys fighting for the fifth receiver spot. Larry Fitzerald, Michael Floyd, Ted Ginn and John Brown are locks ahead of them. While Keim and Arians have entertained the possibility of keeping six receivers, especially if Nos. 5 and 6 can help on special teams, the safe bet here is that the team keeps five, with Powell a candidate for the practice squad.
4. Tight end Darren Fells: When Jake Ballard retired it was widely assumed that Fells would ascend into the fourth and likely final tight end spot behind John Carlson, Rob Housler and second-round pick, Troy Niklas. Fells is certainly sitting in that position now, but the former basketball player is only in his second year of pro football and he still makes what Arians termed boneheaded mistakes. The Cardinals have two roster spots open, so if Fells can’t take a step up from last week’s performance, it’s conceivable they could fill one of those with another tight end. The available tight ends aren’t exactly impressive, so Fells could have another week to play with before team start cutting players.