Darren Sharper hoping to play vs. Vikes

METAIRIE, La. -- Saints All-Pro safety Darren Sharper says his goal remains to be ready to play against the Minnesota Vikings in the Sept. 9 regular-season opener, even though he hasn't practiced yet this preseason.

Head coach Sean Payton says he's not sure when Sharper will return to practice, but says he won't travel to Tennessee for Thursday's preseason finale.

Sharper has been on the physically-unable-to-perform, or PUP, list throughout preseason because of offseason microfracture surgery on his left knee.

If he starts the season on the PUP list, he cannot play for six weeks. Sharper says he doesn't want to consider that option right now.

Payton will have to make a decision by Saturday.