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Cardinals minicamp takeaways: Palmer impressive

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  • By Alex Flanagan NFL.com
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PHOENIX -- The Cardinals minicamp went so well that head coach Bruce Arians canceled the final day of camp on Thursday after the second day of practice. The Cardinals have the next seven weeks off before they report for training camp. The impressive return of quarterback Carson Palmer, just seven months removed from knee surgery, was the overwhelming storyline to come out of mandatory minicamp. Here are five more takeaways:

1. The Cardinals have struggled defending tight ends in the past. This year they will have to deal with Jimmy Graham in Seattle if they want to compete for the division title. Arizona lacked mobility at the linebacker position in 2014, which forced rookie Deone Bucannon to drop into the box at times. This season with Sean Weatherspoon playing inside linebacker, Bucannon should be able to play more of the traditional safety position. The feeling around the Cardinals' facility is that he matches up well with Seattle's new weapon.

2. Weatherspoon has already become the vocal leader of the Cardinals' defense. Unlike Larry Foote, who directed the defense last year and is now coaching, Weatherspoon has the ability to drop into coverage. The big caveat is can he stay healthy? Health has been a problem for Weatherspoon in recent years.

3. Arizona could have a one-two punch at running back. The team is looking to improve from last year's 31st ranked rushing offense. Rookie David Johnson took many of the minicamp reps with Stepfan Taylor and Kerwynn Williams nursing injuries. Arians was impressed with Johnson's production. The third-round pick out of Northern Iowa has the ability to run between the tackles, but Arians says he can also bounce to the outside.

4. A few touchdown passes from Palmer to second-year wide receiver John Brown made it hard not to notice the rapport that has developed between the quarterback and the young wideout. They will continue to train together in San Diego until training camp. In other receiver news, Michael Floyd sat out with a tweaked hamstring, and Larry Fitzgerald lined up often in the slot. Will that be his new home in 2015?

5. Patrick Peterson was all over the field on Day 2 of minicamp. The corner was batting down balls and deflecting passes. Arizona has depth and versatility in the secondary to go along with Peterson and a healthy Tyrann Mathieu. Arians noted that Peterson has lost some weight and looks like he's supposed to look.

Follow Alex Flanagan on Twitter @Alex_Flanagan.

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