Pickett: I'll be ready for Vikings

The king-sized defensive tackle missed all of training camp with a hamstring injury.

Ryan Pickett didn't sound like a man who was down in the dumps about missing all of training camp.

"It's not my favorite thing," the defensive tackle said with a big laugh consistent with his 330-pound frame.

Pickett missed all of training camp with an injured hamstring. He is to go through more testing on Friday, and hopes the training staff clears him to play in the regular-season opener against Minnesota on Sept. 8.

"I'm ready to go. I have been ready to go mentally, but I just haven't been ready to go physically," Pickett said.

The Packers need the king-sized run-stuffer. Without him and weak-side linebacker A.J. Hawk last week at Denver, the Packers yielded 91 rushing yards in the first half. Pickett, however, disputed the notion his absence has drawn attention to his importance.

"I really, honestly, think the boys in there are doing a great job," Pickett said. "We may give up a couple runs, but for the most part, we've been doing well this whole camp. I'm watching, and I'm like, ‘Man, they don't really need me much out there.'"

That's nonsense, though. The eighth-year pro is the biggest and most experienced defensive tackle on the roster, and his stoutness in the middle will be required against the run-first Vikings in the opener.

A question will be whether Pickett has the stamina to play 30 snaps a game, or if he'll be worn down and rendered ineffective in the fourth quarter. He said he's kept himself in good shape, and would need about a week of on-the-field activity to get himself in "football shape." He doesn't think it will take him long to kick off the rust.

"Football's a game of repetitions, so any time you miss out on your reps ... you can always look better in certain things, so I'm going to behind in that aspect," he said. "But the fundamentals of playing, I pretty much have them. I've been playing for awhile. I've been doing the same things for years. But, it never hurts to touch up things, and that's what I'm missing."

Pickett said he'll be busy going through rehab between now and when practice resumes next week. If all goes well, he'll be in the starting lineup on opening night, hoping to make life miserable for Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor — even without a training camp to hone his skills.

"I think I'll be pretty close, just being honest," Pickett said. "I don't think I'll be that rusty. I'm not rushing the passer, per se, or anything like that. So, I feel confident that I'll be fine."

Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com

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