Fun challenge tomorrow night at The College Stadium and one I expect the first-team offense and defense to receive extensive first-half action. Here are a few things I will be looking for through the binoculars while executing the simulcast on KARE 11 and KFAN 100.3 FM at 7:30 p.m.:
-- Explosive plays on offense. Things opened up a bit offensively this week at training camp, and given Arizona is an aggressive man-to-man-coverage team I expect MATT CASSEL and TEDDY BRIDGEWATER to attack the single coverage and maybe make some memories down field.
It will be entertaining to see WR CORDARRELLE PATTERSON opposite CB PATRICK PETERSON and to see how the second-year guy handles it. Granted, ADRIAN PETERSON is not playing so the play-action game might not be as effective as it will in the regular season, but I expect the Vikings to challenge Arizona's secondary, and TE KYLE RUDOLPH may be a mismatch they cannot handle.
-- Confusing CARSON PALMER will not be as easy as it was last week versus MATT SCHAUB. Carson has seen it all and bails out by throwing it to LARRY FITZGERALD, JR. CBs CAPTAIN MUNNERLYN and XAVIER RHODES will have their hands full with 'Fitz, and that's the beauty of it; in a division with MEGAMAN, JORDY NELSON, BRANDON MARSHALL and ALSHON JEFFERY it's dynamite we get a chance to check Larry to prepare.
Carson gets rid of the ball quickly and ZIMMER likes to blitz, so those factors meeting make tomorrow night entertaining. I am not overwhelmed by Arizona's first offensive line and am hoping we can do some damage. DT LINVAL JOSEPH will not play, which sucks, but the Cardinals are not known for between-tackles running, they are a pass-first operation. I have a ton of respect for coach BRUCE ARIAN'S offensive mind, and he just hung 32 on Houston, so we better be ready.
-- Teddy Time. I am guessing Bridgewater enters close to halftime and might play until sometime in the fourth quarter. The offensive approach when he played versus Oakland was very conservative, and I'd like to see NORV give him a chance to do some things down the field. Teddy has a nice arm, and slings it outside the numbers pretty well. WRs ADAM THIELEN and JARIUS WRIGHT will be used heavily with Teddy, and JEROME SIMPSON might be in the mix, too. Let's wow the crowd with the deep game, Teddy chucking the rock.
-- Stay healthy. Obvious as it may be it is the most important thing heading into the season. If the firsters are going to play markedly more than last week and the intensity is ramped up let's hope nothing goes amiss. This Cards are very fast and physical on defense.