Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s status for Sunday’s game against the Vikings is still unknown, but reports out of Wednesday’s practice are moving toward promising.
According to SI.com, in the part of practice that was open to the media Prescott seemed unbothered by the right calf strain. Dak was scheduled to work through individual periods of Dallas’ Wednesday practice, and then be evaluated further as the session transitioned to team periods.
Prescott’s teammates were impressed with what they saw.
Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb said QB Dak Prescott (calf) looked like “the same Dak” in today’s practice: “He looks great. In and out of his drops. …To me, he looks perfectly fine.” pic.twitter.com/HmJJCSJA0a
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) October 27, 2021
Dak Prescott’s status for Sunday?
Ezekiel Elliott: “Honestly I don’t know. I hope he will be available. From what it sounds like he will be available…obviously we want Dak out there but I have a lot of confidence in Coop [Cooper Rush].” pic.twitter.com/F2fgW9oGAe
— Brianna Dix (@DixBrianna) October 27, 2021
But head coach Mike McCarthy was more cautious.
“He’s going to practice and he’s going to go through the individual part of it and he’s in the game plans. He’s preparing to play,” McCarthy said. “He’s got to cross the threshold to make sure he’s full-go.”
The Cowboys are coming off a bye week and sit at 5-1, comfortably atop the NFC east. But they still have designs on securing a top seed for the playoffs.
Therein lies the problem. Should they rest Dak another week or play him if he’s “healthy” because securing a top seed increases their title odds?
When the calf injury first occurred during the Cowboys Week 6 win over the New England Patriots, there was minimal concern, although Prescott was moving around with a pretty serious limp.
Common football logic is they had the bye week coming, so Prescott would have two weeks to get healthy. When it comes to the best athletes in the world, injuries don’t just “heal.” What they are actually doing is getting to a point where they can play, manage the pain and not cause further injury.
As of Monday, Prescott had ditched the boot, and that fueled the idea that he could be ready to play on Sunday.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (right calf) not in a protective boot. In good spirits. He is cheering for team nutritionist, who is running sprints on practice field. Prescott is expected to play Sunday at Vikings. pic.twitter.com/sCUyE36DnQ
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) October 25, 2021
Team owner Jerry Jones, who’s not one to be shy about offering up his “expertise” on pretty much everything, joined 105.3 The Fan’s “Shan & RJ” show Tuesday morning and said he’s confident with where Prescott is at heading into the week.
“Based on what you saw yesterday (without the boot on), that was very encouraging,” Jones said. “But those things have to be monitored. You’ve got a solid week, which is great, to monitor that…I feel very good about where Dak is right now.”
Jones is eager for Prescott to play, as is likely everyone inside the Cowboys facility. But playing football too soon isn’t going to help the injury get to a point of management.
McCarthy said Cooper Rush will get work with the No. 1 offense, regardless of Prescott’s health.
“It’s a matter of trying to make sure Cooper is ready and to make sure Dak is getting what he needs,” McCarthy said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re getting Cooper ready too.”
The Cowboys have designs on winning a Super Bowl title. Securing a top seed in the playoffs will go a long way toward realizing that goal. But at what cost?
If Prescott aggravates the calf on Sunday and has to sit longer, how do the Cowboys stack wins? No Prescott, no Super Bowl.
The saying in the NFL is “on any given Sunday.” That’s true. The Vikings are a professional football team, and they have talented players. But they are .500 and a middle-of-the-road team.
Yes, it is a home game for the Vikings. But the Cowboys should still be able to win without their Pro Bowl quarterback.
Football logic says if Prescott clears the necessary thresholds he’ll play. Common sense might be to give him another week and increase the long-term odds.