The Arizona Cardinals have featured some great players over the years, including some that most fans don't associate with the team.
Here are five players you may have forgotten played for the franchise.
5. Kyle Vanden Bosch, 2001-2004
After a solid collegiate career at Nebraska, Vanden Bosch was selected in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft by Arizona. He played in only three games as a rookie due to a knee injury that required surgery. He didn't miss any time the following season, but missed all of 2003 because of another knee injury, this time tearing his left ACL. He again played in all 16 games in 2004, but logged just 13 total tackles and zero sacks.
Vanden Bosch then signed with the Tennessee Titans, and made the Pro Bowl in 2005 after login 12.5 sacks. He played for the Titans until 2010, making two more Pro Bowls. He moved on to the Detroit Lions in 2010, playing his final three seasons with the team. Vanden Bosch was a solid NFL player, which is quite the accomplishment considering the devastating injuries he suffered with the Cardinals.
4. Adrian Peterson, 2017
Peterson is one of greatest running backs in NFL history, and did make a pitstop in Arizona, although it occurred during the worst (mostly) full season of his career. After rushing for nearly 12,000 yards in 1o years (two essentially lost to suspension and injury), Peterson became a free agent, and signed a two-year deal worth $7 million with the New Orleans Saints.
He lasted four games with the team, rushing for just 81 yards on 27 carries before being traded to the Cardinals for a conditional sixth-round pick. In six games, Peterson rushed 129 times for 448 yards and two touchdowns before landing on injured reserve. He was released after the season and signed with the Washington Redskins, for whom he's put together two solid campaigns even at an advanced age (33 and 34 is ancient for a modern RB).
3. Boomer Esiason, 1996
A second-round selection in 1984, Esiason spent the vast majority of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals, but did play one season for the Cardinals towards the end of his playing days. His first stint in Cincy lasted nine years, with Esiason taking over as the starter early in the 1985 season. He made three Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team, with his best season coming in 1988, when he threw for 3,572 yards and 28 TDs, leading the Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII, where they lost 20-16 to the San Francisco 49ers.
After three years with the New York Jets, Esiason signed with Arizona in 1996, going 3-5 as a starter with 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions at the age of 35. He strongly considered retiring afterward, but was persuaded to return to Cincinnati for one more season, taking over as the starter late in the year and helping the Bengals win four of their last five games. Esiason is now one of the biggest radio and television analysts in the NFL landscape, appearing every Sunday on CBS's The NFL Today.
2. Emmitt Smith, 2003-2004
For 13 years, Smith was one of the league's premier runners with the Dallas Cowboys. He retired with 18,355 career rushing yards, which remains an NFL record, one which could very well be all but impossible to break given the lifespan of RBs today, and the current marginalization of the running game.
Shortly after Bill Parcells was hired as head coach in 2003, Smith was released. He signed a two-year deal with the Cardinals, and claimed that he was still “a 1,300 yard back“. He missed six games due to a shoulder injury, but in his first season with Arizona, at the age of 34, he looked washed up. He gained just 256 yards on 90 carries, and was marginally better in 2004, totaling 937 yards on 267 carries. Smith signed a one-day contract with the Cowboys to officially retire as if his stint in the desert had never happened.
1. Alan Faneca, 2010
Faneca has been a finalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame five times now, but has yet to be voted in. It needs to happen, as he was one of the NFL's premier players at any position throughout the 2000's.
In 10 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Faneca made eight Pro Bowls and six All-Pro teams, and added another Pro Bowl as a member of the Jets in 2009. He played his final season in 2010 with the Cardinals, but will always be remembered as a Steeler.