Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer scrambles for what would be a career-long 16-yard scamper last Sunday against San Francisco.
The changes in the offensive line in front of Carson Palmer haven't impacted how the quarterback works with the unit on a technique level.
But the veteran acknowledged he talks to the group a little bit more than he might if guys like Jared Veldheer and Evan Mathis hadn't gone down with season-ending injuries.
"A guy like Jared, he doesn't need simple reminders, he doesn't need quick quizzes in the background when the defense is on the field
during practice," Palmer said. "There are some guys that have been here as long as you have, who know the offense inside and out. There are some guys who are going from guard to tackle or different spots that, whether it's good for them or not, sometimes it's comforting for me to hear that we're all on the same page."
The Cardinals have had to play with Earl Watford at right guard in place of Mathis. Veldheer's injury meant John Wetzel has had to become the left tackle. Even D.J. Humphries is in his first season playing.
"Carson is definitely trying to make sure we know what is going on and why he is doing stuff," Humphries said. "Things he knows Jared knows that he doesn't have to talk to Jared about, but he has to go through us because we have never been in certain stuff."
The Cardinals will play a team Sunday that has their own offensive line issues. Coach Mike Zimmer said he had not yet decided who would play left tackle after Jake Long – himself a replacement – was lost for the season.
The Vikings have already lost two right tackles this season as well.
"We've been pretty much beat up on the offensive line," Zimmer said.
FITZGERALD AMONG THOSE SITTING OUT
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald did not practice Wednesday because of knee sprain – coach Bruce Arians said earlier this week it was an MCL issue similar to what slowed Fitzgerald in the preseason – and his lingering ankle sprain, but Arians added he still expects Fitzgerald to play
Sunday in Minnesota.
Safety Tyrann Mathieu (shoulder) returned to practice on a limited basis after he missed last week's game.
Also sitting out practice were linebacker Alex Okafor (knee/calf), linebacker Deone Bucannon (ankle) and defensive tackle Corey Peters (foot). Quarterback Carson Palmer and linebacker Chandler Jones also sat out, but Palmer took a rest day and Jones had a family matter. Both are expected to practice Thursday.
Linebacker Joplo Bartu (hamstring), linebacker Gabe Martin (hamstring) and safety Tharold Simon (ankle) joined Mathieu as limited.
For the Vikings, four did not practice: defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee), linebacker Eric Kendricks (hip) and cornerbacks Captain Munnerlyn (ankle) and Terence Newman (illness). Guard Zac Kerin (hand) and cornerback Xavier Rhodes (concussion) were limited.
BRINGING BUTLER BACK
It took about four weeks for his ankle and calf injuries to heal, punter Drew Butler said, and then he had another two-plus weeks to get ready in case the Cardinals wanted him back. They did, re-signing him Tuesday after he had been released with an injury settlement in early October.
"I trust the (front office) upstairs," said Butler, who signed after working out for the Cardinals Tuesday. "Follow the plan they put in place and hope everything happens for a reason. That's what I did and I'm glad to be back."
Arians acknowledged Butler's statistics aren't appreciably different than Ryan Quigley, but Butler can kick field goals and kick off if Chandler Catanzaro gets hurt and he's been better in the past than Quigley at directional kicking and pinning the ball deep.
"The flexibility he gives us is big," Arians added.
KEEPING JARON BROWN
The news wide receiver Jaron Brown – on injured reserve after tearing his ACL -- had signed a contract extension for the 2017 season drew praise from both Arians and Palmer.
"We love him as a football player," Arians said. "It looks like he'll be fine, health-wise."
Said Palmer, "He's just one of those guys the whole locker room loves."