Farewell Mankato and a few words from Jackson

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
MANKATO, Minn. -- I'm set to head north and continue the NFC North training camp crawl, but I stuck around Minnesota State University, Mankato, on Tuesday morning to see if anything changed with the condition of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.

Jackson has missed five practices after spraining his left knee. Wearing a custom brace, Jackson threw and ran with athletic trainer Eric Sugarman and afterward stopped to talk to a few reporters about his recovery. Jackson said he is not concerned about the impact of another injury on his reputation and is certain he will be back in time for the Vikings' first preseason game Aug. 14 at Indianapolis.

Here's the majority of Jackson's interview session:

How are you feeling and do you have a goal for returning?

Tarvaris Jackson: Not a certain goal but as soon as possible. I feel a lot better the last couple of days. I was in there with [Sugarman] doing whatever they tell me to do and just trying to get back out there.

How frustrating was it to get hurt so early in camp?

TJ: I didn't want it to happen, but I didn't let it get to me like that. I just took it as another thing that is testing my mental toughness. I just took it like that and tried to stay strong and stay focused.

Are you starting to get concerned about the number of knee injuries you've had?

TJ: Not really. I feel like just fluke stuff has happened. Every injury I've had, I've felt that it was just fluke injuries. I avoided injuries pretty much throughout my whole career until I got here. I guess it's just catching up to me, getting my share like every other guy. It happens to everybody. It's a contact sport. You try to avoid it as much as possible by training and everything but it's going to happen.

Fluke or not, do you worry that the injuries will impact the Vikings' judgment of you and/or their confidence in you staying on the field?

TJ: No. I don't worry about that. If they do, then that's just the way they operate. But no, I don't think so.

Do you feel like you're losing time to Sage Rosenfels?

TJ: No, not really. Obviously the other guys are getting a lot more reps and they are getting more familiar with the offense and everything. But I'm still in the meeting room studying every day. I'm still in there watching film, watching the things they do pretty good, and just watch what they're doing. I'm not able to do it physically right now. But I'm still tuned in mentally.

How does this compare to your sprained knee last year?

TJ: It was a lot worse last year. I've recovered a lot faster this time. Last year, two or three days after my injury, I wasn't doing as much as I was now.

Are you confident this will be behind you in time for the first preseason game?

TJ: Oh yeah. I'm pretty sure I'll be back out there by then at 100 percent. I'm just taking it day by day right now.