Notebook: Injured Players Pushing to Return

The Vikings are expected to get several players back in action Saturday night against Pittsburgh, but Tarvaris Jackson is still considered "day-to-day." Plus, get more notes and quotes on the return of Mike Tomlin and Mewelde Moore.

The Vikings had a half-hour walkthrough on Thursday and will conduct a mock game tomorrow in preparation for Saturday's preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the third and generally considered the most important and revealing game of the preseason.

Starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson continues to make progress in his comeback from a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee, suffered in Saturday's win over the Baltimore Ravens, but head coach Brad Childress said Jackson is still considered "day-to-day."

"He moves a little better every day. He goes home and he treats here," Childress said.

Jackson has been participating in practices on a limited basis this week with a brace on his knee, and Childress has been pushing to have Jackson approach the week of preparation as if it were a regular-season game coming up, but the Vikings are also cautious not to expose him to additional injury if he isn't able to adequately defend himself.

"There are some things he can do, some things he can't do," Childress said. "I do not want to insinuate with him that he's not a tough guy or has to play injured. I mean, he has to have some of his faculties, has to be able to protect himself. That's usually the biggest faculty that we look at. It's, ‘Are we putting a guy in peril? Does he have to play the game a different way' and, ‘Can he protect himself?' That's what the trainers and doctors always say: ‘Can he protect himself?' We just need to make that sure he can."

Jackson was on the field for the start and end of the Vikings' half-hour walk-through on Thursday, but he declined to speak with reporters afterwards. Childress said the quarterback is wearing what they call a "game-ready," a compression device that forces swelling away from the injured area and has cold water inside it. He said most of the players buy one.

Whether or not Jackson plays probably won't be decided until hours before game time at the Metrodome, but the Vikings are expected to have No. 1 wide receiver Bernard Berrian (turf toe) available for some action. Childress said Berrian "will give us some things this week."

TE Garrett Mills (ankle) and DE Brian Robison (leg) are unlikely to play. OL Drew Radovich (shoulder) is a wait-and-see proposition, Childress said. OL Tim Mattran (ankle) and Marcus Johnson (knee) should play, and OL John Sullivan (concussion) is not expected to play.

MORE OF MOORE

The return to the Metrodome of former Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin as the head coach of the Steelers has generated most of the player interest this week. The return of former Vikings running back Mewelde Moore hasn't made quite the same impact.

"Mewelde?" inquired receiver Bobby Wade when asked about his return, playing like he didn't know who the question was referring to but admitting that he thought for a moment that Moore went to New Orleans. "No, Mewelde is a good player. They have a lot of tailbacks over there, don't they? Mewelde is a good player. I think he was a consistent player here, punt-returned really well. He was a good third-down back catching the ball on screens and things like that. I don't know how it's working out for him, but I think he understands this run defense so I'm sure he's giving them a heads-up on how things are going to work on Saturday. I think that run defense is going to be a little hungry."

When asked in Pittsburgh about his return to Minnesota, Moore gave his typical non-controversial answer.

"Every game is important. At this time of the season you're still learning and still trying to fine-tune things. So no matter what, you're still going to go out and play 100 percent and you're still going to play hard and do what you need to do. You still have film and you still have everything that's so important to your career," Moore said.

Linebacker E.J. Henderson said he didn't think the first-team defense would see Moore in the first half, but he's heard that Moore is doing well in Pittsburgh.

TRASH-TALKING TOMLIN

Darren Sharper, who played football with Tomlin at William & Mary and played under Tomlin in 2006, said he expected Tomlin to be talking to him when he's out on the field.

"I'm sure we'll have a lot of conversations that will be going back and forth while I'm on the field," said Sharper, who says he keeps in contact with Tomlin all the time.

Asked if he expected to hear Tomlin's clichéd phrases, like playing "playing with your hair on fire," Sharper responded, "He's not going to be saying those clichés to me on Saturday. He's going to say some other things because I'm going to get him riled up, try to have a little fun with him."

3-4 RARITY

With back-to-back games against the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, the Vikings are in rare territory for an NFC North team – playing consecutive teams that employ the 3-4 defense. The only regular-season opponent the Vikings face that regularly runs a 3-4 alignment is Houston, Childress said. Still, Childress said he doesn't mind the opportunity to see his guards and centers face different looks. "I don't think it's a downside when you get to mix and match a little bit," he said.



Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"The Vikings had a half-hour walkthrough on Thursday and will conduct a mock game tomorrow in preparation for Saturday's preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the third and generally considered the most important and revealing game of the preseason.

Starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson continues to make progress in his comeback from a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee, suffered in Saturday's win over the Baltimore Ravens, but head coach Brad Childress said Jackson is still considered \"day-to-day.\"

\"He moves a little better every day. He goes home and he treats here,\" Childress said.

Jackson has been participating in practices on a limited basis this week with a brace on his knee, and Childress has been pushing to have Jackson approach the week of preparation as if it were a regular-season game coming up, but the Vikings are also cautious not to expose him to additional injury if he isn't able to adequately defend himself.

\"There are some things he can do, some things he can't do,\" Childress said. \"I do not want to insinuate with him that he's not a tough guy or has to play injured. I mean, he has to have some of his faculties, has to be able to protect himself. That's usually the biggest faculty that we look at. It's, ‘Are we putting a guy in peril? Does he have to play the game a different way' and, ‘Can he protect himself?' That's what the trainers and doctors always say: ‘Can he protect himself?' We just need to make that sure he can.\"

Jackson was on the field for the start and end of the Vikings' half-hour walk-through on Thursday, but he declined to speak with reporters afterwards. Childress said the quarterback is wearing what they call a \"game-ready,\" a compression device that forces swelling away from the injured area and has cold water inside it. He said most of the players buy one.

Whether or not Jackson plays probably won't be decided until hours before game time at the Metrodome, but the Vikings are expected to have No. 1 wide receiver Bernard Berrian (turf toe) available for some action. Childress said Berrian \"will give us some things this week.\"

TE Garrett Mills (ankle) and DE Brian Robison (leg) are unlikely to play. OL Drew Radovich (shoulder) is a wait-and-see proposition, Childress said. OL Tim Mattran (ankle) and Marcus Johnson (knee) should play, and OL John Sullivan (concussion) is not expected to play.

MORE OF MOORE

The return to the Metrodome of former Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin as the head coach of the Steelers has generated most of the player interest this week. The return of former Vikings running back Mewelde Moore hasn't made quite the same impact.

\"Mewelde?\" inquired receiver Bobby Wade when asked about his return, playing like he didn't know who the question was referring to but admitting that he thought for a moment that Moore went to New Orleans. \"No, Mewelde is a good player. They have a lot of tailbacks over there, don't they? Mewelde is a good player. I think he was a consistent player here, punt-returned really well. He was a good third-down back catching the ball on screens and things like that. I don't know how it's working out for him, but I think he understands this run defense so I'm sure he's giving them a heads-up on how things are going to work on Saturday. I think that run defense is going to be a little hungry.\"

When asked in Pittsburgh about his return to Minnesota, Moore gave his typical non-controversial answer.

\"Every game is important. At this time of the season you're still learning and still trying to fine-tune things. So no matter what, you're still going to go out and play 100 percent and you're still going to play hard and do what you need to do. You still have film and you still have everything that's so important to your career,\" Moore said.

Linebacker E.J. Henderson said he didn't think the first-team defense would see Moore in the first half, but he's heard that Moore is doing well in Pittsburgh.

TRASH-TALKING TOMLIN

Darren Sharper, who played football with Tomlin at William & Mary and played under Tomlin in 2006, said he expected Tomlin to be talking to him when he's out on the field.

\"I'm sure we'll have a lot of conversations that will be going back and forth while I'm on the field,\" said Sharper, who says he keeps in contact with Tomlin all the time.

Asked if he expected to hear Tomlin's clichéd phrases, like playing \"playing with your hair on fire,\" Sharper responded, \"He's not going to be saying those clichés to me on Saturday. He's going to say some other things because I'm going to get him riled up, try to have a little fun with him.\"

3-4 RARITY

With back-to-back games against the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, the Vikings are in rare territory for an NFC North team – playing consecutive teams that employ the 3-4 defense. The only regular-season opponent the Vikings face that regularly runs a 3-4 alignment is Houston, Childress said. Still, Childress said he doesn't mind the opportunity to see his guards and centers face different looks. \"I don't think it's a downside when you get to mix and match a little bit,\" he said.


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