Notebook: Favre or no Favre, Tarvaris Jackson trying to 'just keep moving'
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MANKATO, Minn. -- At least this time, Tarvaris Jackson knows what probably will happen.
For the second straight year, the Minnesota Vikings break training camp on Friday with Jackson and Sage Rosenfels as their top two quarterbacks. And it'll be Jackson who starts Saturday's preseason opener at St. Louis, most likely playing only one series with the rest of the starters.
Unlike last year, Jackson leaves Mankato fully aware it's a possibility -- if not an inevitability -- that veteran Brett Favre will return and take the starting job sometime in the next few weeks.
"It's nothing new for me," Jackson said after the final full-squad practice on Thursday morning.
"I've been hearing about it for the last two, three years now. It's a situation where you've just got to deal with it and be a professional about it and just keep moving."
Favre was in Florida on Thursday to get his troublesome left ankle checked out by Dr. James Andrews, who performed surgery on it in May.
Like most things Favre-related, the results of that exam -- and perhaps a new timeline for deciding whether he'll play a 20th NFL season -- almost surely will leak out in time to overshadow whatever happens to his teammates against the Rams.
Asked if he has a gut feeling about Favre's plans, Jackson said, "I'm not trying to get into all that right now. It's a crazy situation, so I'm just staying away from that and trying to get better."
It hasn't been easy, with receivers Sidney Rice (hip) and Percy Harvin (death in family/migraines), running back Adrian Peterson (hamstring) and center John Sullivan (calf) missing a majority of camp.
Rice, Harvin and probably Sullivan won't play on Saturday. Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (unknown strain) is questionable as well.
The biggest question remains Favre -- even if teammates continue to downplay the work he and others have missed while Jackson and company grinded amid brutally hot conditions.
"Percy's been out a little bit," Peterson said. "Sidney ... he's my roommate, so I know he be in that book every night going over things. But of course, there's nothing like having reps out there.
"And of course, Favre coming in just like he did last year -- he's going to flow right through, so I don't see no problem with that. There's a lot of guys out here working to get better, and that's what we're doing each day."
Harvin's absence reached its 12th day and seems certain to extend beyond two weeks, with the Vikings leaving for St. Louis on Friday.
Sen. Al Franken, a lifelong Vikings fan who visited camp on Thursday, said he understands the physical aspect of Harvin's struggle. Franken deals with migraines as well.
"I can barely function when I have 'em, but to play football -- you can't do that, and I really feel bad for him," Franken said. "I hope they find some regimen for him, because he is a really spectacular game-breaker."
Childress said he had no update on Harvin's status.
Place-kicker Ryan Longwell, who has served as Favre's unofficial spokesman in camp, said he saw a report about his friend's doctor's appointment but didn't know anything more.
Longwell did find one way to cash in on the situation, though. A local restaurant had posted a sign before camp saying "FAVRE EATS FREE DURING TRAINING CAMP."
The sign was revised this week to say Longwell could claim Favre's meal instead. So, Longwell did just that on Thursday, taking his fellow specialists out for lunch.
"As (punter Chris) Kluwe pointed out," Longwell said, "it's been in my plan for the past 14 years to get to know Brett enough to set up it up so we'd get a free Pizza Ranch buffet."
• A standing-room only crowd attended the morning practice before the traditional mass autograph session -- and some good-natured hazing high jinks. The highlight was the defensive line hogtying rookie DE Everson Griffen with athletic tape, then loading him onto the back of a utility cart, which DT Letroy Guion drove around the field with several teammates, honking the horn repeatedly.
• Childress said no final decision has been made on whether to play MLB E.J. Henderson on Saturday. The playing surface at the Edward Jones Dome could be a deciding factor, given that Henderson is recovering from a significant leg injury. "We haven't had him on Astroturf yet," Childress said. "We're still knocking that around a little bit."
• Peterson would like to see the NFL cut its preseason schedule cut in half -- but not to expand the regular season to 18 games. "Sixteen games plus the playoffs ... it's a lot," Peterson said. "So, I vote against it. Sixteen games, two preseason games, and should keep it as that."
• Though the Vikings stadium issue will have to be solved on the state level, rather than the federal level, Franken expressed support for the idea. "We've got to get this resolved, and it'd be nice to do this in a way that doesn't take away from general revenues (and) try to finance it a smart way," he said. "The Vikings are a great economic asset and we're a big-league town and the Vikings are a Minnesota tradition."
• Final passing stats in team drills: Jackson 4-for-10, INT; Rosenfels 8-for-12; Webb 3-for-7, INT.