Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Kevin Minter is dealing with a pectoral muscle injury, and the second-year pro could be held out of the remainder of the preseason. FOX Sports 910 Phoenix’s Mike Jurecki reports that the Cardinals are “considering” whether or not they should simply hold Minter out of the rest of the team’s exhibition games as a precaution, as they lost last year’s elite starting duo of Daryl Washington and Karlos Dansby to suspension and free agency respectively.
To replenish the lost depth at the position, the Cardinals added veterans Desmond Bishop and Ernie Sims in free agency, though Sims was cut earlier this month. The former first-round bust would have been a tremendous liability anyway on the field, so it may have even been addition by subtraction. Bishop was once a good starter for the Green Bay Packers who pushed standout veteran Nick Barnett out of a roster spot, but injuries have derailed his once-solid career. He should be a top backup for the Cardinals, though, as the starting duo of the young Minter and veteran Larry Foote is entrenched.
Minter isn’t nearly as good of an all-around player as Dansby or Washington, but very few inside linebackers have come close to that precipice of play at the position anyway. The LSU Tigers product is an excellent run defender with great instincts, and it’s important for the Cardinals to ensure that he’s healthy. While he could use the snaps and the experience of calling out more defensive plays in the preseason, his health is imperative at this juncture.
Jurecki reports that surgery is a possibility if Minter’s injury doesn’t improve, but he should be ready for the team’s Week 1 opener. That said, it’s too early to tell, and I would consider him a toss-up in order to use full caution here. If Minter can’t play, then Bishop or the unproven Kenny Demens could end up starting next to Foote.