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Kevin Minter 'has to come through' in 2015, played 2014 with 'significant injury'

GM Steve Keim talks about his 2013 second round pick.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into 2014, linebacker Kevin Minter was expected to make a big impact and be a key player in the defense. He ended up being a part-time player, only playing on base defense sets. During the first part of the season, he was very effective in stopping the run. Like the rest of the defense, his performance tailed off towards the end of the season,  including three missed tackles against the San Francisco 49ers in the regular season finale.

You could say it was a disappointing season for him.

General manager Steve Keim was on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM during "Newsmakers Week" and spoke a little about Minter's play in 2014 and the expectations for him in 2015.

Something that was mentioned during the preseason was the pectoral tear he suffered. There was speculation he might have to miss the season if surgery was needed.

Instead, he rested during the preseason and then played with a harness to avoid furthering the extent of the injury.

Even with the injury, Keim didn't want to make excuses.

"The one thing with (Minter) is when you tear a pec, it's a significant injury," Keim explained. "He had to play in a harness and I certainly won't make any excuses for him because he's a guy we have expectations for and, being a second round pick, he has got to come through."

Keim also made it clear the team is counting on Minter moving forward.

"We have expectations coming into 2015 and he knows it," he said.

Assuredly, these expectations include being a three-down player. With a lot of uncertainty remaining at inside linebacker between Daryl Washington and his current drug suspension (and his likely future suspension for his domestic dispute) and whether Larry Foote will play again, Minter needs to become the playmaker they drafted him to be.

Minter has been set back by better players in front of him (Washington and Karlos Dansby in 2013) and injuries (pec injury 2014). Can he turn the corner and perform, overcoming any possible adversity in 2015?