Around the NFC West: Cardinals' problems

The Arizona Cardinals had no chance against the Minnesota Vikings in part because they couldn't count on the players they've paid the most.

Receiver Larry Fitzgerald dropped a pass on the first play of the game, his first drop of the season. Quarterback Kevin Kolb was "uneven" once again, to borrow the term coach Ken Whisenhunt used to describe Kolb against Seattle a few weeks back.

Everyone knew or should have known the Cardinals' defense would struggle. But there was every expectation to see an improved product on offense given how far the team had fallen on that side of the ball in 2010.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' performance during their 34-10 defeat at Minnesota had coach Ken Whisenhunt fuming afterward. And there's little reason for short-term optimism. Somers: "A week ago, it looked like playing in the NFC West might be the one thing the Cardinals had going for them. But the complexion of the division has changed. The 49ers beat the Buccaneers to go 4-1. The Seahawks beat the Giants on the road to go 2-3. The 49ers now have a three-game lead over the Cardinals. It's early, but the Cardinals have shown no indication of being a contender. They've shown little toughness, and accountability seems lacking. And maybe they just have less talent than many thought. They sure haven't done anything to contradict that line of thinking."

Also from Somers: postgame thoughts, including one about Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb. Somers: "One question I didn't get from fans during the game is why the Cardinals were never interested in Donovan McNabb. As one of my old bosses used to say, he spent the afternoon throwing infield practice. A lot of grounders."

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic sees a Cardinals team with issues. Serious issues. Whisenhunt: "I was angry starting out and I am still angry, but I do believe that we have some good players on this football team. I have not lost any confidence in our players or our team. We are going to look at what we are doing, and we are going to put them in the best situations to not make those mistakes, and we are going to get it fixed."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com offers postgame thoughts, including this one: "Early Doucet was the go-to guy Sunday. He had a career-high eight receptions for 92 yards, and the Cards targeted him 16 times. Doucet, by the way, already has a career-high in yards with 309, and if he hadn’t lost a touchdown catch because of a Jeremy Bridges penalty, he would have had his second 100-yard game of the season. Technically, Andre Roberts is the other starting receiver, but clearly Doucet is the No. 2."

Also from Urban: The Cardinals needed to enter their bye week on a higher note.