GLENDALE, Ariz. – Having played a game just four days earlier, it was expected that the Arizona Cardinals would be missing some key pieces for their primetime matchup against Minnesota at University of Phoenix Stadium on Thursday.
Running back Andre Ellington (turf toe) will miss his second straight game, as will cornerback Jerraud Powers (calf). Tight end Jermaine Gresham (knee) is sitting this one out, while defensive tackle Frostee Rucker (ankle) will be in street clothes for a third straight week.
Ellington, according to head coach Bruce Arians, “should be ready to go next week” and may have even been able to play in this game if it had been on Sunday.
The good news is that defensive tackle Cory Redding returns, providing some much-needed depth along the line that must contend with the fifth-best rushing attack, led by the league’s No. 1 running back, Adrian Peterson.
“This is the week you all see 90 on the field,” said Redding, referring to his jersey number.
Redding has been sidelined by an ankle injury.
“I’m very excited (to be back),” he said. “I haven’t hit anybody in three weeks. I’m itching to hit someone. I’m glad to be back out there on the field with the guys. It’s time to go, it’s time to go play ball with my teammates.”
That includes safety Tony Jefferson, who will be in uniform. He was considered questionable after being limited in practice both Tuesday and Wednesday because of hamstring trouble.
The remaining Cardinals’ inactives are quarterback Matt Barkley, linebacker Shaq Riddick and offensive tackle D.J. Humphries.
For the Vikings, they’ll be minus four defensive starters: linebacker Anthony Barr (groin/hand), defensive tackle Linval Joseph (foot), safety Andrew Sendejo (knee) and safety Harrison Smith (knee/hamstring).
Linebacker Brandon Watts (rib) is also out due to injury.
Given the short week, the Cardinals—and the Vikings, too—were forced to cram six days of normal preparation into 72 hours.
“I thought we had an excellent week of walk-throughs. We’re walked out,” Arians joked. “Pleased with the work. Surprisingly, our mental errors were way down in practice for such a short week, so that tells me the guys are focused and ready to go. The big thing is (with) short weeks is regaining that energy and passion to play the game (on) that short of notice, but I think our guys will be more than ready.”
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