- Josh Weinfuss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Lindley's up: It's tough not to feel bad for Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley. The bar that Logan Thomas set last week, going 11-for-12 against the Houston Texans, may have set the expectations too high on Lindley. He's already considered the fourth quarterback in a three-man room, despite starting games two years ago as a rookie but never playing last season. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians isn't playing favorites, at least not yet. He's giving Lindley the ball for the entire second half Saturday night in Minnesota, as he did with Thomas last weekend, and it'll be up to Lindley to make the third-string job a battle. He has the arm strength and game experience but Lindley didn't look good in Thursday's practice, throwing behind receivers. But all that information could be rendered useless if he can light it up under the stars at TCF Bank Field. Going nearly perfect may be too much to expect but Lindley will have to shine to close the gap between him and Thomas.
Watford gets his chance: With the likelihood of Jonathan Cooper (turf toe) playing Saturday unlikely, Earl Watford will be given reps with the first team offense. Frankly, it's a major opportunity for Watford, especially with Cooper not practicing up to par for the last week. Watford won't just need to prove that he's capable of performing consistently -- an issue that's plagued him this week -- by limiting his own mental errors, he'll have to show he can handle multiple blitzes orchestrated by one of the better defensive minds in the league, Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer. On top of that, the Vikings play a 4-3 scheme, which Watford hasn't faced much as a pro. If Watford shows up Saturday and has an impressive game, which may last for most of the first half if Arians' plans this week resemble his from last week, he could make a strong push to unseat Cooper. Watford will get the chance, it's up to him to capitalize.
Feely needs a big night: The second round of the Cardinals' kicking battle begins Saturday night. Jay Feely will handle all the kicking duties and will debut a new kicking style that incorporates longer strides similar to former Detroit kicker Jason Hanson's approach. Like Lindley, the bar was set high for Feely. Last week, rookie Chandler Catanzaro went 3-for-3 on field goals and two of his seven kickoffs went for touchbacks. Feely, however, knows what will keep him in contention for the job he's held since 2010. Arians wants to see deep kickoffs with high hang time and made field goals. Catanzaro was aided by kicking indoors last week while Feely will be kicking outside in Minnesota. It may make a difference but Feely needs to overcome those obstacles to win the job.
The Arizona Cardinals (1-0) and Minnesota Vikings (1-0) play Saturday night at TCF Bank Field in Minneapolis.Lindley's up: It's tough not to feel bad for Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley.