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The (Billy) Price Is Finally Right, And Friday Before The Vikings

Billy Price could've been a Cardinal. The team talked to him as a free agent this offseason and a lot of times, that ends in a signing. In this case, it did not.

Rodney Hudson ended up returning to start at center. But with the ongoing knee problems for Hudson, the Cardinals again sought out Price, who had landed on the Raiders practice squad. And after all that, he indeed has become the Cardinals starter at the position while Hudson remains sidelined indefinitely.

"It's been … ironic," Price said. "To put it lightly. You have to take it a day at a time and I really think that was my mantra. The Spring developed the way it did, personal decisions were made, and getting into the season I was looking for the right fit.

"I thought there was an opportunity in Las Vegas, and then Arizona called. And I was absolutely ecstatic. I really like it here."

The Cardinals are up to two new starters on the line. Cody Ford, who was forced into action at left guard last week after basically no practice for six weeks following a stint on IR, is the left guard. Ford figures to be there going forward, as the Cardinals figure out if he makes sense to be a long-term answer (Ford is scheduled to be a free agent.)

Whenever Hudson is ready, he'll be back in the lineup. The question is when he'll be ready with the knee that has troubled him since training camp. Price, a former first-round pick of the Bengals who started for the Giants last season (next to Cardinals guard Will Hernandez), is the guy for the foreseeable future.

"We liked him," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "I think he was looking for the right situation at the time (in free agency). I'm glad it worked out. With Rodney's situation he's done a nice job picking it up."

-- Time for DeAndre Hopkins the sequel. The premiere for Nuk was as electric as hoped, with his 10 catches for 103 yards. More than that, Hopkins clearly took a leadership role last week.

"I've always been a guy who's been able to motivate and try to push people because I want the same back to myself," Hopkins said. "I want guys to vocalize what I am doing and what I need to do better. So for me it's not so much being a vocal leader but letting my play show. (But) I wasn't really talking a lot in the huddle. I was probably more calm than I've ever been."

-- The man who will line up on Hopkins at least some of the time is former Cardinals All-Pro Patrick Peterson (although the Vikings use Peterson in more zone than he played or liked to play when he was in Arizona). Peterson has already played against the Cardinals once, last year, so this isn't his first rematch against his former team. And he insisted on his podcast this week there "ain't no emotions" playing the Cardinals again.

But he also reiterated a boast he had made on the previous week's podcast, that he was going to have two interceptions against Kyler Murray. He made the original prediction in the podcast right before the Vikings bye.

"I'm getting two October 30th," Peterson said on the "All Things Covered Podcast." "Watch what I say. You already know who we're playing."

"I can't wait," he added, which didn't sound like a no-emotion kind of feeling.

-- The Cardinals gave up almost 500 yards against the Saints and 34 points, so while it was a big win and the Cardinals made three interceptions and scored two defensive touchdowns, "we have a higher standard than that," defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said.

"The picks were great and all but there were a lot of things that to me, weren't up to our standard," linebacker Isaiah Simmons said. "Starting with how many points – definitely way too much. I love the interceptions and everything, but there is a lot of stuff we had to clean up. And we did."

-- Speaking of Simmons, Joseph was raving about his play post-Week 1. Simmons has played a lot of slot corner, Joseph said, and made the one-handed interception last week. Combined with the improvement of fellow linebacker Zaven Collins, the Cardinals are starting to get what they want out of the first-round duo.

"The last six weeks of football has been impressive to watch this guy play," Joseph said of Simmons.

-- There has been a lot of talk about the Cardinals' league-leading fourth down conversions (13) and fourth-down tries (23), but that is in part because they have been behind so much and in part because their third downs have been so poor. The Cardinals have converted only 33.7 percent of their third downs this season, 28th in the NFL. (Interestingly, two teams with good records, the Jets and Cowboys, are the two teams that are at 29 and 30 in the category. Odd.)

-- The final comments (probably) from Kyler Murray and Kingsbury about Thursday night's much-publicized dustup again featured Murray downplaying it – "I know people are making it a big deal, but it wasn't anything crazy to me or him" – and Kingsbury making a joke.

"That's why I don't have kids yet," Kingsbury said. "I avoid the traumatic interactions as much as I can, but those situations, like I said, (we are) trying to win and trying to play better on offense. The intensity's ratcheted up game time and all those things. That's the relationship. We both want to be really good on offense. We both expect to be really good and so that happens."

-- It's hard to believe the Cardinals have never won in Minnesota since moving to Arizona, a span of 10 games. The last win for the Cards in Minneapolis was 1977. You remember that one, right? Hall of Famer Roger Wehrli had an interception of Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, and the Cardinals had 51 rushing attempts (!) for 316 yards compared to 14 Jim Hart passes in a 27-7 win. In those days, the Vikings played outside, for goodness sakes.

The current streak started in 1991, the Cardinals' fourth season in Arizona. (We won't speculate on why the Cardinals – an NFC team like the Vikings – went from 1978 to 1990 without a game in Minnesota.)

-- Congrats to J.J. Watt and wife Kealia on the arrival of baby Koa James last weekend. And props to Mom for making the minibye work for the birth, however they managed that, so that J.J. was available for Minnesota. It's been impressive the Cardinals had two in-season babies and both Ertz and Watt didn't have to miss a game.

-- The last word goes to Kingsbury, who was asked if the Cardinals might make another trade with the deadline looming

"I wouldn't be surprised if we got in on something," he said.

See you Sunday.

Center Billy Price
Center Billy Price