Jackson stays on track to return, but Childress remains noncommittal

  • Article by: KEVIN SEIFERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 10, 2007 - 11:57 PM

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson remained on track Wednesday to rejoin the Vikings' starting lineup, although he did split practice time Wednesday with backup Kelly Holcomb in the event he reinjures his strained groin.

Jackson, who has missed two games because of the injury, reiterated he is "ready enough" to start Sunday at Chicago. But coach Brad Childress would not fully commit to his return, saying he wanted to evaluate Jackson's full week of practice first.

"We always kind of go with, 'Can he protect himself for that step or two steps that he needs?'" Childress said. "I've seen him do a few things out here that would lead me to believe that, but I want to put a practice back to back [before making the final decision]."

Wednesday, Jackson remained in the locker room until just before practice began to prevent the groin from tightening in the brisk afternoon weather. Afterwards, Jackson said: "It held up pretty good."I'm confident in it," he added. "[Athletic trainer Eric Sugarman] has been great with me, and Coach has done a great job helping me understand that with this injury, you take your time and get your rest. I've had a lot of rest the last three weeks, so it's good."

No big deal

Bears tight ends Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen each scored a touchdown in Sunday night's 27-20 victory over Green Bay. Vikings safety Darren Sharper, for one, isn't worried.

Speaking on a conference call with Chicago reporters, Sharper said: "I'm never concerned about a tight end."

He added: "I played corner when I first came into the league. If the tight end catches the ball on me, then I need to be fired."

Overall, Clark and Olson have combined for 25 receptions, 316 yards and three touchdowns in five games.

"They have good tight ends," Sharper conceded. "I faced Clark last year with him being in Chicago. So I know he's a talented tight end. Both guys will block and are good pass catchers. And Olsen is a first-round kid so he's a guy who you know is going to have some ability."

Another near must-win?

Bears quarterback Brian Griese called the victory over the Packers "as close to a must-win" situation as the Bears could get. What about this week's game against the Vikings?

"It's another division opponent, and playing at home, you almost can't give up divisional games at home," Griese said. "That's like losing two games. So, obviously, it's a critical game."

After defending the struggling Rex Grossman throughout most of last season's Super Bowl run and for the first three games of this season, Bears coach Lovie Smith benched Grossman in favor of Griese. He has gone 1-1, losing at Detroit and winning at Green Bay, and apparently has Smith's full support.

"I think you go with whoever you think gives you the best chance to win at that time," Smith said. "At that time, I thought Rex gave us the best chance to win. He did. We were winning with him as our quarterback. But times change."


• Vikings defensive end Darrion Scott will undergo surgery today to repair a broken left foot. Childress termed the injury a "Jones fracture," which involves the fifth metatarsal bone. The injury could open the door for Erasmus James to see his first action of the season, but Fred Evans -- who, like Scott, can play both defensive tackle positions --might be activated.

• The Vikings signed cornerback Dee McCann, a sixth-round draft pick of Detroit in 2006, to the practice squad. McCann spent 15 weeks on the Lions' practice squad last season and was active for one game.

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