A big storyline in the lead-up to this Sunday night’s game between the Vikings and Cardinals has been the status of Arizona QB Kurt Warner, who missed last week’s game in Tennessee and was knocked out of Week 11 with a concussion.
Last week, all indications were that Warner would play. But on Sunday morning he woke up with neck pain and sensitivity to light and ultimately he didn’t play. So even though all indications are he’ll play this week, last week’s happenings prove that nothing is certain until the ball is teed up and the game begins.
I’ve been sure all week that Warner would play on Sunday against the Vikings. Not because I think the concussion issue isn’t a serious one, but because given the extra week of recovery I thought Warner would be ready to go.
But a little more doubt has crept into my mind, especially in light of the attention the concussion issue has received that past couple of weeks but also because of Warner’s comments to SI.com’s Peter King. Warner approaches the issue with the type of caution you’d want someone you love who plays a game as violent as football to approach it. If you read his comments to King, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Ultimately, though, I’m going to stick with what I told my friend Paul Allen on KFAN during my weekly appearance on his 9-noon show earlier this week – I think Warner will play.
But who cares what I think, right? What matters is what actually happens. And the fact happens to be Warner might not play.
If Warner doesn’t go, Matt Leinart will be the starter. He filled in capably for Warner last week in Tennessee but in the end he didn’t get the job done because the Titans came away with the win. Leinart split reps with Warner this week in practice, plus he’ll be playing at home, so if Leinart is the man to start I expect he’ll perform much better. And given the offensive weapons the Cardinals have, the Vikings will have no less of a challenge with Leinart in there.
From the Vikings perspective, however, head coach Brad Childress said they are less concerned with whose starting and more concerned with the philosophy of the Cardinals offense.
“We are not losing sleep over it. We are defending a scheme more than anything” the Vikings head coach said on Friday. “They just don’t take all their concepts and throw them in the trash.
They are calling a play for 3rd and 6 or 1st and 10 based on what they think the defense is doing. Not whether the guy is right-handed or left-handed or if he’s playing or not playing.”
As I’ve said in the blog earlier this week, we won’t really know Warner’s status until 90 minutes prior to kickoff on Sunday evening when teams are required to submit their list of inactive players. He is listed as questionable on the team’s Friday injury report, meaning Arizona has estimated there is a 50-50 chance of him playing.
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