Vikings notebook: Farwell on the mend

The disappointment in Heath Farwell's voice was apparent, but he celebrated one milestone already in his short comeback from knee surgery. See what Farwell had to say about his progress and get other notes and quotes as the Vikings zero in on their primetime opener.

While his teammates prepared diligently for the regular-season opener – a game full of hype surrounding Aaron Rodgers' first NFL start and the end of the Brett Favre era in Green Bay – linebacker Heath Farwell was celebrating his own milestone last week. Thursday was his first day without crutches.

"It's been 16 days since surgery, so I've still got six to nine months. But I got off my crutches, which is a small victory. Actually, it's a big victory for me," Farwell said while standing next to his locker as teammates and media shuffled past.

After two preseasons of leading the Vikings in tackles and two regular seasons of leading them in special teams tackles, Farwell's 2008 season came crashing down late in the first quarter of his first preseason game when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

"I've been through it all. It's a rough injury knowing that I'm not going to be able to participate in the season this year. It's not a good feeling. You kind of get past that and say, ‘You know what? I'll be back for next season.' The most important thing is to get it to 100 percent. I want to be ready for OTAs (organized team activities) and minicamps and just be 100 percent then," Farwell said, with the frustration and disappointment obvious in his speech.

"That's the goal, to be ready for March. It's still early. It's kind of hard to tell at this point. I've talked to Chad (Greenway) about it."

Greenway suffered a torn ACL in college and another one in the first preseason game of his rookie season with the Vikings in 2006. He returned last year to have a very solid initial season as a starting linebacker, giving Farwell hope that he can return to action in a similar timeframe.

"You see an injury like that and you hear the horror stories and you think, Is your career done? But there have been so many guys that have come back – Chad came back full speed and is playing well. To me, that's a great example of my position. If he can do it, I can do it is the type of attitude that I'm taking.

"We've been rehabbing since the first day. It's a long process," Farwell said. "(Vikings athletic trainer Eric) Sugarman's been yanking on it and I've been riding the bike already, so we're doing rehab on it. It's just a long process. You don't want to push it too hard, where you hurt it more."

Farwell accepted his one-year contract tender from the Vikings as a restricted free agent this offseason. If the Vikings don't re-sign him before the start of free agency in late February or early March next year, he will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his professional career.

"I'd like to be back here obviously, but you never know what could happen," he said. "I have no idea what they're thinking. I'm more worried about getting myself healthy. It doesn't matter what I do if I'm not healthy next year."

BURNSIE SPEAKS

For the second consecutive year, current Vikings coach Brad Childress had former Vikings coach Jerry Burns address the team. He did that on Saturday following the Vikings' practice at Winter Park.

"He just addresses the (Green Bay) rivalry. He talked more about the mental aspects of the game today more than anything with our crowd," Childress said. "As you guys would know, in his own inimitable way, it's different than having a guest speaker. He's coached. That's huge."

Burns was an assistant coach with the Vikings from 1968-85 and was their head coach from 1986-91. He was the defensive backs coach in Green Bay from 1966-67. He still attends several Vikings home games and the occasional practice and still has his spitfire ways about him.

JACKSON READY

After missing the final two preseason games with a sprained medial collateral ligament, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is ready to go.

"Forty-eight hours until game time I think he's in good shape," Childress said Saturday. "He's practiced a bunch here and he's got some good looks at our game plan. I'm encouraged."

Neither Jackson nor Childress are sure if he's going to be wearing a custom-fit brace for the game, but he has been wearing it in practices this week. He looked pretty confident rolling out of the pocket during individual drills late last week, but the decision on the brace likely will be made shortly before game time.

Childress said there were no other changes to the team's injury report, making it unlikely that running back Maurice Hicks (foot) will play on Monday night. WR Robert Ferguson and Jackson are expected to play while safety Madieu Williams will not.



Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"While his teammates prepared diligently for the regular-season opener – a game full of hype surrounding Aaron Rodgers' first NFL start and the end of the Brett Favre era in Green Bay – linebacker Heath Farwell was celebrating his own milestone last week. Thursday was his first day without crutches.

\"It's been 16 days since surgery, so I've still got six to nine months. But I got off my crutches, which is a small victory. Actually, it's a big victory for me,\" Farwell said while standing next to his locker as teammates and media shuffled past.

After two preseasons of leading the Vikings in tackles and two regular seasons of leading them in special teams tackles, Farwell's 2008 season came crashing down late in the first quarter of his first preseason game when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

\"I've been through it all. It's a rough injury knowing that I'm not going to be able to participate in the season this year. It's not a good feeling. You kind of get past that and say, ‘You know what? I'll be back for next season.' The most important thing is to get it to 100 percent. I want to be ready for OTAs (organized team activities) and minicamps and just be 100 percent then,\" Farwell said, with the frustration and disappointment obvious in his speech.

\"That's the goal, to be ready for March. It's still early. It's kind of hard to tell at this point. I've talked to Chad (Greenway) about it.\"

Greenway suffered a torn ACL in college and another one in the first preseason game of his rookie season with the Vikings in 2006. He returned last year to have a very solid initial season as a starting linebacker, giving Farwell hope that he can return to action in a similar timeframe.

\"You see an injury like that and you hear the horror stories and you think, But there have been so many guys that have come back – Chad came back full speed and is playing well. To me, that's a great example of my position. If he can do it, I can do it is the type of attitude that I'm taking.

\"We've been rehabbing since the first day. It's a long process,\" Farwell said. \"(Vikings athletic trainer Eric) Sugarman's been yanking on it and I've been riding the bike already, so we're doing rehab on it. It's just a long process. You don't want to push it too hard, where you hurt it more.\"

Farwell accepted his one-year contract tender from the Vikings as a restricted free agent this offseason. If the Vikings don't re-sign him before the start of free agency in late February or early March next year, he will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his professional career.

\"I'd like to be back here obviously, but you never know what could happen,\" he said. \"I have no idea what they're thinking. I'm more worried about getting myself healthy. It doesn't matter what I do if I'm not healthy next year.\"



For the second consecutive year, current Vikings coach Brad Childress had former Vikings coach Jerry Burns address the team. He did that on Saturday following the Vikings' practice at Winter Park.

\"He just addresses the (Green Bay) rivalry. He talked more about the mental aspects of the game today more than anything with our crowd,\" Childress said. \"As you guys would know, in his own inimitable way, it's different than having a guest speaker. He's coached. That's huge.\"

Burns was an assistant coach with the Vikings from 1968-85 and was their head coach from 1986-91. He was the defensive backs coach in Green Bay from 1966-67. He still attends several Vikings home games and the occasional practice and still has his spitfire ways about him.



After missing the final two preseason games with a sprained medial collateral ligament, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is ready to go.

\"Forty-eight hours until game time I think he's in good shape,\" Childress said Saturday. \"He's practiced a bunch here and he's got some good looks at our game plan. I'm encouraged.\"

Neither Jackson nor Childress are sure if he's going to be wearing a custom-fit brace for the game, but he has been wearing it in practices this week. He looked pretty confident rolling out of the pocket during individual drills late last week, but the decision on the brace likely will be made shortly before game time.

Childress said there were no other changes to the team's injury report, making it unlikely that running back Maurice Hicks (foot) will play on Monday night. WR Robert Ferguson and Jackson are expected to play while safety Madieu Williams will not.


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