Jackson Pushing Through Injury

Tarvaris Jackson (Drew Hallowell/Getty)

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is being put through the post-injury paces as if it were the regular season, but a sprained MCL makes it unlikely he'll play on Saturday.

NFL teams always want to put their best foot forward in the preseason and it's assured that the Vikings want Gus Frerotte to do a solid job Saturday night in relief of Tarvaris Jackson … but maybe not too good.

The timing of the Jackson injury couldn't be worse as far as preseason injuries because the third preseason game is the one time that the starting units play through the first half and into the second half. It's the dress-rehearsal game for the regular season and the one game that fans can get into as a result.

Despite a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, Jackson was on the field for the start of the Vikings' afternoon practice on Monday before reporters were ushered away. Although the quarterback wore a brace on his knee and looked limited during stretching, Childress said Jackson participated in a limited amount of practice.

Jackson injured his knee on a 9-yard scramble in the first quarter of Saturday's game.

"As a coach you'd like to get as many turns as you can, and I'm sure it's his wish that he can get as many turns as he can," Childress said of Jackson. "That's why he wanted to get in that walk-through and start to familiarize himself with what we're doing this week. I think he's got enough muscle memory where it will come back to him. It won't be like he's never seen 11 guys on defense or anything like that. But it's not my first wish or his first wish."

The last thing the Vikings need is a quarterback controversy and, unfortunately for them, if Gus Frerotte lights things up, they could have one on their hands given Jackson's injury history over the last calendar year.

That is exactly what happened in 2003. With Daunte Culpepper dinged up early in the season, Frerotte came off the bench and, in two starts, threw for 506 yards and six touchdowns. At the time, Culpepper was entrenched as the starter, but Frerotte's performance gave rise to an anti-Daunte sentiment among some fans and the call for Frerotte to take his place. That same sort of buzz could be in the air with repeated Jackson injuries, this one being his fourth different sidelining injury in the last 11 months.

"I think he understands the fact that he needs to be out there for 16 games this year. Maybe we learn to live to fight another day, take two less yards running up the field," Childress said.

Frerotte joked that he wouldn't be doing too much scrambling that would put his 37-year-old body in the position Jackson was when he was injured.

"Being an older guy and being able to play a lot of years, I play a lot different than he does," Frerotte said. "I would have thrown the ball away as soon as I stepped up in the pocket. That's just him, that's just his game. It's just something, as you get older as a quarterback, that's just things you learn and sometimes you learn them the harder way."

The Vikings want Frerotte to succeed Saturday against Pittsburgh, but too much success could be the start of another quarterback controversy.

TUESDAY NOTES

  • As could have been expected, Childress was tight-lipped about Jackson's condition, neither confirming nor denying that he is in or out for Saturday's game. As if on instructions, Jackson walked past reporters looking for confirmation from him concerning his condition after the Monday walk-through morning practice and he wasn't on the field at the end of the afternoon practice when reporters were allowed to talk with players.

  • Bernard Berrian continues to be plagued by a turf toe injury that slowed him down last season. He was held out of the Baltimore game as a precaution.

  • The Bears have named Kyle Orton as the opening-day starter, having apparently beaten out Rex Grossman for the starting job.

  • While the team was saddened to place DT Kenderick Allen on injured reserve, those who went to NFL.com may have had their hearts skip a beat. Next to a headline saying that Jackson's knee injury might sideline him Saturday, a sidebar headline said "Allen Out" – giving the impression that it might be free-agent signee Jared Allen. Instead, it was free-agent signee Kenderick Allen, a backup defensive tackle.

  • VikingUpdate.com Recommended Stories