Jackson: ‘I'm Playing Monday'

Tarvaris Jackson sat out the final two games of the preseason with a sprained medial collateral ligament, but he seems intent on playing in the season opener Monday night in Lambeau Field. He'll be doing that without his starting left tackle, Bryant McKinnie. See what Jackson and Brad Childress had to say on both matters Tuesday.

The Vikings may be trying to play it coy with the obvious, but Tarvaris Jackson left little doubt that he'll be playing in the season opener Monday night in Lambeau Field.

"Nobody is 100 percent once the season starts. The only day you're probably 100 percent is the first day of training camp. After that, you're pretty much going to have nicks and bruises, so I'm playing Monday regardless of how I feel right now," said Jackson, who sprained his medial collateral ligament in the second game of the preseason and sat out the final two preseason games.

"I feel good," he said. "The whole process has been feeling better each day. I had a couple days off, a couple to rehab and stuff, and feel a lot better."

Jackson said there isn't anything he can't do at this point, but head coach Brad Childress tried to play up the injury in his press conference today, his first meeting with the press since the Vikings finished the preseason 1-3.

"Scouting report wise, let's see, he looks like the pirate with the wooden leg right now out there moving around. He's just kind of making spot throws standing in one place. Really has no movement skills to speak of at all. He looks like he's got cement shoes on," Childress said.

Jackson said the possibility of him wearing his custom-fit brace will depend on how he feels at the time, but he said it's not a battle between him and the training staff. He said he wishes he wouldn't have said earlier that he didn't think he'd be 100 percent for the season opener, but at this time he isn't going to put a percentage on how close his knee is to being fully healthy.

Jackson's knee might be even more of a storyline without his blind side being protected by Bryant McKinnie, who was suspended four games by the league for violating the NFL's personal conduct penalty for his alleged role in a fight outside a Miami nightclub earlier this year.

Childress said McKinnie knows how the coach, owner Zygi Wilf and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell feel about his situation moving forward.

"We honor the league's intentions and basically that's the way I believe in doing business here. The accountability factor is huge." Childress said, adding later, "Let's hope it's a wake-up call."

McKinnie's suspension to start the season puts Artis Hicks as the starter at left tackle. Childress said Hicks has worked "completely on the left side (of the line) since the spring" and reiterated Hicks is more comfortable on the left side.

"Artis, he's been through this before," Jackson said. "He did it in Philly. He moved to left tackle in Philly. I think this is his seventh year in the league. He's been through it before. He's been a starter for us when he first got here and some of last year. It's nothing different for him. He's been taking snaps at left tackle throughout training camp so I think he'll be ready."

However, Jackson did say that McKinnie's presence at left tackle provided him with a bit of a security blanket.

"Just by him being the guy that he's been in the three years since I've been here, it's a security blanket with him being back there," Jackson said. "I have the (utmost) confidence in Artis. It's his seventh year in the league. He played guard; he's pretty much played everywhere on the offensive line except center. He's going to help us out a lot. I don't feel like it's going to be a great dropoff."

NOTES

  • With an extended weekend following Thursday night's preseason finale and a Monday night game to open the season, the team lifted weights and ran Monday. On Tuesday, the Vikings practiced for about an hour and 15 minutes in full pads. After a players day off on Wednesday, the team returns to continue preparing for Green Bay on Thursday.

  • Childress said wide receiver Bernard Berrian was at full speed on Tuesday after missing the last three preseason games with turf toe.

  • Darren Sharper wasn't at practice Tuesday in order to attend services for the late executive director of the NFL Players Association, Gene Upshaw, in Washington. Sharper is the team's player rep for the union.

  • Running back Maurice Hicks attended Tuesday's practice but was not participating. He is believed to have suffered an ankle or foot injury in the preseason finale and his availability for Monday night's game isn't known yet.

  • Childress on the fun-loving personality of defensive end Jared Allen: "God help us when he gets comfortable around here."

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