Arizona's second-round pick was dressed in a practice jersey, team shorts and a hat, but stood on the sidelines as he recovers from hernia surgery that took place after the NFL scouting combine in February.
“He's starting to run,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said after practice.
Arians hopes to have Niklas back on the field by the second minicamp.
In the meantime, his absence will give the other three tight ends atop the depth chart an opportunity to impress Arians on tape. During practice, the first-team tight ends were Jake Ballard and John Carlson. Rob Housler, who started in 2013, ran with the second and third teams. With Niklas out, Housler can gain the most by showing Arians that he can be the type of full-service tight end that Niklas, Ballard and Carlson are.
But the other three tight ends only have a few weeks to make their mark.