Jackson's Status Still In Doubt

Tarvaris Jackson (Drew Hallowell/Getty)

The Vikings aren't saying for sure if Tarvaris Jackson will play Saturday night against Pittsburgh, but it would seem like the cautious approach would be the prudent approach.

The Vikings remain mum on the subject, but it seems all but certain Tarvaris Jackson won't play in tonight's preseason game with the Steelers. Had this been a regular season game, there might have been more of a push to get Jackson back on the field with a brace to protect his strained right medial collateral ligament. But, despite the importance of the third preseason game of the year, having Jackson at 100 percent for the start of the regular season must take precedence.

"It still is the preseason," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "One, it's important … to make it back, show he can tough it out. But if it's a situation where it's not going to help us, not going to help him, then you probably don't do that. We just have to see. I know he's a tough kid. He has a legitimate injury. He's pushing hard to get back and coach will make that final decision."

It is the latest in a series of short-term losses for Jackson, who missed time on three different occasions last season, missing two games once and one game twice. This would appear to be the type of injury that will fall in that same category. It also rates as his fourth unrelated injury to cause Jackson to miss time.

"I'm sure there is a little bit of frustration. You don't want to get a labeled as an injury-prone guy," Bevell said. "The tough thing for him is a lot of them have been legitimate injuries and sometimes there's just nothing you can do about that. That's part of the game. Maybe this is the last one and he'll go on a 15-year streak and never get hurt again. You really don't know. So he's just taking it a day at a time and trying to get back."

Although the remote possibility exists that head coach Brad Childress will trot Jackson out on the field tonight, it would seem the cautious approach would be to lose out in the short term with Jackson missing the important third preseason game and win in the long-term by having him as close to 100 percent as he can be when the regular season gets underway in two weeks.

SATURDAY NOTES

  • The Vikings will observe a moment of silence at tonight's game in honor of Gene Upshaw, the late executive director of the NFL Players Association.

  • The Vikings-Steelers game will be seen by a national audience on CBS-TV this evening.

  • Bernard Berrian is expected back in action after missing last week's game with turf toe. However, Sidney Rice is expected to miss the game after being held out of practice all week with a virus.

  • Offensive tackle Marcus Johnson, who has been out since the Seattle game with a knee injury, is expected back in the lineup tonight.

  • The Vikings will also be without OL Tim Mattran (ankle), TE Garrett Mills (ankle), OL Drew Radovich (shoulder), DE Brian Robison (leg) and safety Madieu Williams (neck).

  • The Vikings have dominated the Steelers in the preseason, winning nine of 11 career meetings.

  • There is growing concern that Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning may not be ready for the start of the regular season. The Vikings meet the Colts in the home opener in Week 2.

  • Following in the fleet feet of Todd Lowber, there is said to be growing interest in Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, who, at 6-5, would be a receiver coach's dream if his ability could be harnessed properly.

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