Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson isn't quite all the way back from his knee injury, but he's talking confidently about his abilities and looking forward to re-entering the competition for the starting job. Plus, get numerous notes from the Wednesday morning practice.
After Tarvaris Jackson
made his way back onto the practice field in a limited fashion, he exuded confidence in his abilities and refused to give an upper hand to Sage Rosenfels
Jackson and Rosenfels came into training camp competing for the Vikings' starting quarterback job, but Jackson suffered a Grade I sprain in the medial collateral ligament of his left knee and didn't practice again until Wednesday morning. He suffered the injury when he was stepping up to throw a pass and got his leg tangled with defensive tackle Letroy Guion
, who was on the ground.
"It's fluke stuff. Guys are just trying to practice hard, trying to get better just like me. I wasn't really mad at no one. I was just kind of disappointed that it did happen, because I felt like I got a quick start and I was headed in the right direction. But I'm not letting that stop me and I'll just keep moving," he said.
Jackson refused to give an inch in the competition with Rosenfels for the starting spot. Since Jackson's injury, Rosenfels has improved his play with the increase repetitions with the first-team offense.
"I wouldn't necessarily say a leg up. They brought him in for a reason and me and him are just competing for right now," Jackson said. "I'm very confident, not just because I was starting last year, but because I had an extra year under my belt as far as being in this offense, being on this team and being an NFL quarterback. I feel very confident in my abilities and everything in the offseason, just me knowing where to get the ball to.
"At this time last year to compared to this year I'm a lot farther along. I can do a lot more. I'm not as swollen. I'm not as stiff. I'm just happy it's not as bad as it was last year. I'm just taking it one day at a time."
On Tuesday afternoon, Jackson began throwing passes in front of head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman and head coach Brad Childress, and Wednesday morning he progressed to practicing with the team in certain situations. However, he was held out of full-team work when the Vikings went to their two-minute offense.
"Overall, I've felt better than I have since I've been here," he said. "… My knee is getting back right. Just trying to take it slowly and at the same time do what I can."
Jackson acknowledged that his familiarity with practicing against the Vikings' defense is one thing and that a better gauge will be when he goes against other defenses. While he looked solid in late-season action last year when he was reinserted into the starting lineup, he struggled when facing blitz-heavy teams like the New York Giants in the season finale and the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoff game.
"It's different when you get into a game atmosphere. I see this defense all day, every day, so I kind of know what these guys are doing. We'll see when we get a different jersey in front of us," he said.
WEDNESDAY MORNING PRACTICE NOTES
Former Vikings defensive end Kenechi Udeze attended practice Wednesday and visited with his former teammates and coaches. Udeze decided to retire last week before training camp opened when he determined he wasn't able to overcome the neuropathy that resulted from his chemotherapy treatments in 2008. Udeze was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2008 and sent the disease into remission with chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. He practiced on a limited basis this offseason but had complications with his feet. He declined comment on Wednesday after practice.
The contract for WR Percy Harvin was disapproved with the league on Tuesday, but the matter was resolved Wednesday morning and Harvin practiced with the team fully.
After releasing WR Audrae Allison on Tuesday, the Vikings signed rookie RB Antone Smith out of Florida State. He joined the team at the beginning of practice and wore jersey number 35.
WR Jaymar Johnson was not at practice. Head coach Brad Childress said yesterday that Johnson's wife would be having a baby in the next couple of days and the team wanted Johnson to take the time to enjoy that experience.
DE Brian Robison continued to work on rehabbing the hamstring he tweaked on Monday morning and did not participate in practice.
During one-on-one drills, LB Jasper Brinkley didn't give an inch to fullback Nehemiah Broughton and intercepted a pass intended for him.
Working on the hurry-up offense, Sage Rosenfels completed a fourth-down Hail Mary pass to Sidney Rice for a 30-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone when Rice used his height to grab the ball at its peak and maintain possession all the way to the ground.
Safety Husain Abdullah ended the second-team hurry-up session when he intercepted a John David Booty pass intended for WR Nick Moore in the end zone. Booty's second session in the hurry-up offense ended with a fourth-down incompletion intended for WR Vinny Perretta.
Rice and Rosenfels continued their chemistry when they connected on another fourth-down pass to extend a drive in the hurry-up offense.
The defensive linemen put a stop to the second session. Immediately following Rice's reception, Ray Edwards had a touch sack of Rosenfels and DE Jared Allen followed that up with a nice bull-rush on Bryant McKinnie for another sack. After the offense was awarded a first down when Childress called defensive holding, Edwards ended that series with a sack and strip of the ball.
Booty's longest pass of the session was a 25-yard completion to WR Glenn Holt on third-and-6.
DT Fred Evan had a touch sack of Rosenfels late in the practice.
Offensive lineman Ryan Cook had a notorious ending to the morning practice. On the final play, he thought the quarterback was under center instead of the shotgun and snapped the ball to no one. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell noted that a reporter's question about Cook came after that play and said Cook has been looking fairly comfortable at center. Cook, last year's starting right tackle, is working as a backup at all three positions along the offensive line.