Frerotte's back could put T-Jack out front

Gus Frerotte didn't practice Wednesday and didn't look like he was close to being ready to play anytime soon after hurting his back Sunday. That could put Tarvaris Jackson back in the starter's seat.

Gus Frerotte was walking gingerly around Winter Park Wednesday but still holding out hope that his injured back would recover on time for him to make his 12th straight start for the Vikings on Sunday.

Frerotte hurt his back last Sunday against the Detroit Lions when he tackled defensive lineman Corey Smith after he intercepted a pass that was batted at the line of scrimmage.

"I just twisted it in a weird way. I was kind of upset in the way that it happened, so I was trying to rip the ball out and then I twisted him down. Something just popped and I knew it right away," Frerotte said, saying there was no fracture and calling it "just muscle stuff."

Frerotte didn't practice on Wednesday. Instead, he was jogging in a pool and trying to take some weight off the tender area. He's been trying to let it relax and get better before he does anything too strenuous.

He said he's "hopeful" that he'll be able to play in the Vikings' big game against the Arizona Cardinals. A Minnesota win would give the Vikings the NFC North division title if the Saints beat the Bears on Thursday night.

Frerotte hadn't attempted to throw a ball yet this week and said he's trying to recover more before he moves around too much, but he can lift his arms above his head.

"It's not so much the throwing motion as it is the drop back and twisting and doing all of that stuff," he said.

Vikings coach Brad Childress said it could be a game-day decision whether or not Frerotte plays, and the coach needs to have some questions answered first.

"Can he defend himself? Does he have a couple steps of movement? Does he have a lot on the throws? You want to know those kinds of things," Childress said. "You want to take care of the mental part of it. He's done that in the last couple of days. He won't be able to take the physical reps here (Wednesday). We'll just see how it evolves throughout the week."

Frerotte said different coaches handle injuries to quarterbacks differently.

"I think you've got to get a little bit (of practice) in. Every team is different," Frerotte said. "I know when I was with Coach (Nick) Saban, if you weren't on the field at all that week, you weren't allowed to play. And then I was with other coaches where as long you were able to go on Sunday, you were able to play. We'll just have to see how it goes. It's definitely day-to-day right now."

He said he has had "maybe a few" weeks in his career where he has played without practicing, but not many.

Tarvaris Jackson, who led the team to a second-half comeback against the Lions after Frerotte was carted to the locker room late in the second quarter, said it will be a different week of preparation for him knowing that he could be the starter.

"When you know you're playing, it's different," Jackson said. "Me and Gus were talking about it today with (offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell). Sometimes it's even better not knowing that you're going to play and just getting in there and just play. During the week, some guys tend to worry, ‘What if I get this look? What if I get this?' But when you just get thrown into the fire and you just go in the game, it's a lot different just going out and playing. I'm trying to do that, just keep going and doing what I did last week."

Jackson was "thrown into the fire" against Detroit and performed extremely well. He competed eight of 10 passes, including the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter, and had a career-high 143.8 passer rating.

"I was so happy for him. I was really excited for him to be able to come off the bench," said Frerotte, who replaced an ineffective Jackson as the starter after the second game of the season. "Like I told him earlier in the week, ‘You just never know when you're going to be able to have those plays come to you.' You have to stick with it. It's a long season and I was really proud and happy for him that he went out and played so well. He was the reason we won.

"I think happening that way for him was better than if I had something happen and he had to do it all week and think about it."


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