Quarterback John Skelton mulls what he'll do next during last weekend's game in Buffalo.
The wait wasn't easy for John Skelton, not after going through the whole offseason and preseason fighting to win the quarterback job and winning it, only to sprain an ankle three quarters into the season.
While he healed, Kevin Kolb played, and won games.
"It's frustrating more than anything, to put in all the hard work in the past years and the offseason, getting named starter and then kind of have it disappear and have it taken away from you that early," Skelton said.
But here he is again, back at starter, now that he is healthy and Kolb is down indefinitely with cartilage damage in his ribs and an SC joint sprain. Skelton will start Sunday in Minnesota and for the foreseeable future. "It's terrible what happened to Kevin," Skelton said. "Injuries are part of the game, the same thing with me the first week."
Coach Ken Whisenhunt was quizzed a couple of times about a timetable on Kolb's recovery, but said he didn't know.
"I'm not trying to dodge the question," Whisenhunt said. "A lot of it is going to depend on how he feels and I can't tell you how that's going to be. He wants to get better. He wants to get back to playing."
Kolb, who was not available for comment, did attend the team's practice at Arizona State University. Whisenhunt said it was a "little bit scary" to go into games with just two quarterbacks, but pointed out that's what the Cards were doing while inactivating Skelton a few weeks as his ankle healed.
"It's really not a lot different in that situation," Whisenhunt said.
If the Cards want to add another quarterback, a possibility is Rich Bartel, who was with the team last year and through the preseason. Bartel can't sign with the Cards until Monday because he was released through an injury settlement. The Cards, with Kolb coming back at some point, would also have to commit to having four quarterbacks on the active roster, which is a heavy burden with a 53-man list.
Skelton acknowledged it was difficult being thrust into the game late as he was against Buffalo, and said it will be smoother this week as he gets the majority of the practice reps.
"It does take a little time to get back into the flow of things," Skelton said. "But it's not like we're going from the end of last year to the beginning of this year. It's not a whole year off or anything. You're still mentally dialed in. You still see a hot on film whenever there is. Now it's just going out and executing it and sticking to our rules as an offense."
Rookie Ryan Lindley will go back to being the backup, a role in which because of Skelton's injury he had already served in four of the six games.
"You just have to prepare for the worst-case scenario," Lindley said. "I'll be ready to go."
Asked about the punishment NFL quarterbacks take, Lindley talked about watching his alma mater San Diego State the weekend after the Cards' Thursday game, and marveling at the speed of the game.
"There are people coming at you quicker, coming at you harder," Lindley said. "At the quarterback position, you can't worry about that. Your job is to get the ball out and move the chains."
That's Skelton's plan, now that he has returned.
"I was (rusty) the first few throws, just getting back in the flow, calling the plays, getting to the line, identifying everything," Skelton said. "But once I got the first couple of snaps out of the way, I was fine at practice."
RHODES SITS OUT
Free safety Kerry Rhodes sat out practice Wednesday with his bad back. Whisenhunt said he wasn't sure how long Rhodes will be out. "Backs are tricky things," he said. If Rhodes is sidelined, the Cardinals have both James Sanders and Rashad Johnson in reserve; the two split the reps in the game when strong safety Adrian Wilson sat out a game earlier this season.
Joining Rhodes and Kolb on the sideline were linebacker Reggie Walker (concussion), cornerback Greg Toler (hamstring) and fullback Anthony Sherman (knee). Five players were limited: cornerback Michael Adams (hamstring), defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (hamstring), linebacker Quentin Groves (hamstring), tight end Todd Heap (knee) and linebacker O'Brien Schofield (knee).
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (knee) sat out practice, but he is expected to play Sunday. Key starters defensive end Jared Allen (groin) and cornerback Antoine Winfield (knee) were also limited.
FLOYD GOES HOME
While wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is the most famous Cardinal to hail from Minnesota, wide receiver Michael Floyd also grew up in the Twin Cities. He's played in the Metrodome before, but only for high school games.
"Just the environment, it will be different because of the noise," Floyd said. "It's the NFL. Plus you've got some hometown kids. The crowd will want the hometown team to win, but I've got a lot of fans up there. It'll be a good time."
Floyd, who went to Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, said it's always good to get back home to see family and friends. Unlike Fitzgerald – who talks often about still being a Vikings fan as long as they aren't playing the Cardinals – Floyd said he has no allegiance to the hometown team.
"I'm not a Vikings fan," Floyd said. "I just love Minnesota. That's where I see myself in the future (after football), in that city. I love the city, I love the people. Great town. But my heart is in Arizona with the Cardinals."