It’s time to get back to our schedule preview series for the Minnesota Vikings’ 2015 season. When we left off, we had taken a look at the NFC East Champions in the Washington Redskins, and now it’s time to move on to last season’s NFC West Champions, the Arizona Cardinals. The Vikings will be returning to the friendly confines of U.S. Bank Stadium for this game.
Our friends from Revenge of the Birds, SB Nation’s home for everything concerning the Arizona Cardinals, have put together this look at their team for us. They haven’t done their article about the Vikings yet, so we’ll keep an eye out for that. So, without any further ado, here we go.
Notable free agent additions
Evan Mathis (OG) and Tyvon Branch (SS)
Notable free agent departures
Bobby Massie (OT) and Jerraud Powers (CB)
Traded Jonathan Cooper and a 2nd round pick for Chandler Jones
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies
DT Robert Nkemdiche (1st Round) May not start in 2016, but is expected to be part of a much improved pass rush for the Cardinals
The rest of the class is promising down the line, but barring injury CB Brandon Williams (3rd round), C Evan Boehm (4th round), S Marqui Christian and OT Cole Toner (5th round) and CB Harlan Miller (6th round) will be special teams contributors and valuable depth.
Biggest offseason addition
Chandler Jones and Robert Nkemdiche. The Cardinals defense biggest weakness was inability to rush the passer, they spent their first two 2016 draft picks addressing the issue. Jones is a proven nine sack a year player, Nkemdiche can be a dominant interior rusher early, it should improve the Cardinals biggest weakness.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp
The growth of DJ Humphries at right tackle, how much does Evan Mathis have left in the tank at RG and can AQ Shipley man the center position for the year. The Arizona Cardinals have an offense loaded with talent, but the three question marks on the offensive line can throw a wrench in that plan.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp
How does the new Arizona Cardinals secondary hold up? Justin Bethel is now cornerback two, Tyrann Mathieu may not be ready for game one so who assumes the role of free safety and nickel cornerback? The only guarantee for game one is Patrick Peterson, even Tony Jefferson is a battle for the starting job, everyone else is an unknown or returning from injury.
Notable injuries heading into training camp
Tyrann Mathieu had a second ACL tear, will he be able to get back to being the most versatile defender in the NFL?