Packers' Randall Cobb set to return vs. Cardinals

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers receiver Randall Cobb, who has missed six of the past eight games because of a hamstring injury, believes he will return to play against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

But that's not the only thing he's excited about.

He can't wait to see what Aaron Rodgers does.

Cobb, Rodgers' longest-tenured receiver on the team, has heard all the recent criticism of his quarterback -- from talk about sloppy fundamentals and missing open receivers with the game on the line to being out of sync with coach Mike McCarthy's playcalling.

Cobb thinks he knows what's coming.

"I'm excited to get back out there because I know with all the noise that's been said over the past week about him [Rodgers], he's getting ready to light everybody up this week," Cobb said Thursday. "It's going to be a lot of fun and I look forward to helping him out."

It could help to have a veteran receiver like Cobb back on the field.

Cobb has played in only five of 11 games this season. He initially pulled his hamstring during the Week 3 game at Washington. To that point, Cobb had 17 catches for 192 yards and a touchdown in less than three full games. He had the game-winning, 75-yard touchdown catch against the Bears in the opener. He initially missed three games (Weeks 4-6) and then returned after the Packers' bye.

However, that lasted only two weeks. On the Thursday before the Nov. 11 game against Miami, he again pulled his hamstring in practice.

Cobb went through an extensive workout on the field before last Sunday's game at Minnesota, but it was never the plan for him to play against the Vikings. Cobb said it was the first time since the injury that he felt no issues with his hamstring, but he admitted it's always tricky to know when muscle injuries are fully healed.

"I think I might have pushed myself to come back a little too early and reinjured it, obviously," Cobb said. "But I really do feel really good right now. I think that we've taken the proper steps and hopefully this is the right time and I'll be able to push through this."

Without Cobb and Geronimo Allison (abdominal surgery), the Packers have had to rely on rookies Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown as the Nos. 2 and 3 receivers behind Davante Adams.

"[Cobb's return] would be a big boost for us," Rodgers said this week.

There's also a chance left tackle David Bakhtiari, who dropped out of the Vikings game on Sunday, could play. That would be critical against Arizona's top pass-rusher, Chandler Jones, who has 11 sacks.

Bakhtiari (knee) did some limited practice work on Thursday after going through rehab work Wednesday.