When the Arizona Cardinals traveled to play the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2 of the 2014 preseason, a lot was at stake for many players. It’s still early enough in the process that one good or bad play could sway head coach Bruce Arians into keeping or cutting a player, so this was a very important scrimmage.
The 30-28 loss on Saturday hurts a little bit, but Arians should be happy with most of what he saw from his team.
The offensive line held up better than last week, allowing only one sack. That lone sack was reminiscent of the one allowed by left guard Jonathan Cooper last week. Starting in place of Cooper, Earl Watford was manhandled on a play by rookie outside linebacker Anthony Barr.
Young receiver Jaron Brown stood out, accounting for the two longest plays of the night. His two receptions covered 85 yards and helped set up both touchdown drives in the first half.
The starting offense scored on its initial drive of the game for the second week in a row. Though Carson Palmer wasn’t as sharp as he was a week ago, he did lead a scoring drive to open the game—a nine-play, 93-yard drive that consumed only three minutes, 26 seconds of the first-quarter clock.
And despite missing starting inside linebacker Kevin Minter, who sat out with a pectoral injury, the starting defense looked strong in its quarter of play.
But there was some bad, too. Like kicker Jay Feely repeatedly sending line-drive kickoffs to the Vikings. And overall, the tackling was not up to snuff. A handful of plays that should have gained very little turned into big gains because defenders were not wrapping up properly.
A lot must be done before the season begins to get this team where it needs to be. The Cardinals have all the pieces they need to compete for an NFC West title, but between now and then, they have some growing to do.
Let’s grade Arizona's positional units for the Vikings game.