After a wild first week of kickoff returns, which Percy Harvin added to, the NFL kickoff coverage…
Cardinals: Updated News, Notes & Quotes
--TE Todd Heap has a hamstring strain and his availability for Sunday probably won't be known until that morning. Rob Housler, a rookie, would assume the spot if Heap can't play. Jeff King is the other tight end.
--RB Beanie Wells has rushed for 321 yards in three games, but he wants to prove himself as a receiver. He has dropped passes in each of the past two games.
--OLB O'Brien Schofield could get more snaps this week as coaches try to give Joey Porter more in-game rest. Porter struggled late last week against the Giants, coach Ken Whisenhunt said, and the Cardinals have to do a better job of monitoring his playing time.
--RB LaRod Stephens-Howling is likely to return kicks this week after a three-week break. Stephens-Howling was out for two of those games with a hand injury. A.J. Jefferson took his place and averaged 29 yards a return.
GAME PLAN: The Cardinals need to figure out a remedy for their red zone woes. They blew chances last week that would have given them a big early lead against the Giants. Some of the problem is second down. When faced with second-and-short situations, the Cardinals haven't had success in trying to score on plays. They might have to adjust and just run Beanie Wells to get a first down.
Defensive coordinator Ray Horton faces a dilemma when deciding to blitz. The Cardinals aren't getting to the quarterback often enough when blitzing, leaving young corners exposed. But the team's pass rush with four rushers is inconsistent, too.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Cardinals LT Levi Brown vs. Vikings DE Jared Allen -- Allen is playing as well as anyone in the NFL now, and Brown's weakness is pass blocking. The Cardinals need to do whatever they can to give Brown help. Beanie Wells could do a better job of chip blocking.
Vikings TE Visanthe Shiancoe vs. Cardinals secondary -- Tight ends have hurt the Cardinals the past two years. Shiancoe had four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown against Arizona last season. Safeties Kerry Rhodes and Adrian Wilson need to help.
Cardinals RB Beanie Wells vs. Vikings defensive front -- Wells is running with anger, and he's not going down easy. He has just three negative runs all year. The Vikings' front has been solid, and they'll need to continue to be to slow Wells.
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