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Packers' Oren Burks hopeful to make rookie debut vs Vikings

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Packers' Oren Burks hopeful to make rookie debut vs Vikings

-- Rookie linebacker Oren Burks was the only player on the Green Bay Packers injury report to practice on Wednesday, albeit in a limited fashion.

The Packers' third-round pick back in April is still in the latter stages of rehabbing from a dislocated shoulder he suffered during pre-game warm-ups prior to an exhibition game in Oakland last month.

Burks was expected to miss the season opener against the Chicago Bears over the weekend, however, his status beyond was speculated to be up in the air.

Even so, it's almost impossible to ignore his high hopes that his regular-season debut could come sooner rather than later.

"I'm feeling really confident about it," Burks said of his shoulder to Packers.com. "Very strong, stable and everything with the harness on. We’ll see what happens."

The other three players on the injury report -- quarterback Aaron Rodgers (knee), wide receiver Davante Adams (shoulder) and safety Josh Jones (ankle) -- were all held out of practice.

During the first two weeks of preseason play, Burks was the starting middle linebacker alongside Blake Martinez in the Packers' base defense. Together, the duo offered a promising combination of run-stuffing and coverage ability.

As a means of coping with Burks' injury, the Packers acquired Antonio Morrison via trade with the Indianapolis Colts. Since then, he's replaced Burks in that role and might get re-replaced as soon as this week if Burks is cleared to play.

"It’s doing pretty good," Burks said. "[Wednesday] was no issue with everything in practice and every drill. I’m feeling good about where I’m at, we’ll see what happens when we get pads on and bang a little bit. It’ll be a good test to see if I’m ready to go or not."

The Packers could use Burks this coming week of all weeks against the Minnesota Vikings, who sport a propitious tailback in Dalvin Cook.

Cook, a second-round pick made by the Vikings last year, tore his ACL in his rookie season after just four starts. He's currently on the comeback trail and offers the Vikings an electric threat out of the backfield -- the perfect opportunity for the Packers to have Burks at their disposal.

"He’s an explosive guy. They try to find different ways to get him the ball, whether it’s out of the pocket or just downhill runs.

"He’s a special guy. We’re going to gameplan fo fit and have something for him, so I’m ready to take on that task."

While Burks may be confined to being purely a nickel linebacker for now -- with an extensive understanding of the playbook -- it's an encouraging sign that he very well may be able to practice in full pads on Thursday.

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV and a contributor/analyst for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (22) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

The TKstinator's picture

You had me at “re-replaced”.

EdsLaces's picture

We need Burks as close to 100% as possible for the long haul. Josh Jackson did pretty well against tight ends last week. Keep it rollin..

Bearmeat's picture

Unrelated, but GOOD LORD Vikings fans are the worst. A bunch of know-it-all, whiny, petulant, jealous, NFL-illiterate, fans.

I hope we KICK THEIR ASSES 60-0 on Sunday.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Criticizing Vikings fans is never unrelated. Weather reporters could complain about Vikings fans during hurricane coverage, and it wouldn't be unrelated.

Tarynfor12's picture

" Mirror Mirror on the wall who's the classiest fans of all?" asks the Packer fan.

" Certainly not those who whine about the fans of their rival claiming same.." answers the Mirror holding hand over it's eyes.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Meh, I'm always for ripping on Vikings fans. I even work it into my nightly prayers, and God tells me, "It's okay. I hear ya, buddy."

Qoojo's picture

In my experience, there are bad trolling idiots on both sides. The normal fan that just follows their own team has to put up with the trolls in their discussion board or whatever. Pft is a great example of how worthless any discussion becomes with these people around.

Bearmeat's picture

The trolls on the Packers side may be a bit obnoxious, but most of them know football. The tinfoil hat crap coming from team purple gets old.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

This is strange to say for a rotational ILB, but I think Burks really changes this defense. Speed is useless without vision, but he has both.

And his sideline-to-sideline burst was missed against the Bears. I'm anxious to see how Pettine works him in against Minnesota.

4thand10's picture

That sideline to sideline speed when running backs break it to the outside might be invaluable. Because if Clay wiffs on a tackle Burks and Martinez will be the only ones to get him to the ground or until help arrives.

Razer's picture

...The Packers' third-round pick back in April is still in the latter stages of rehabbing from a dislocated shoulder he suffered during pre-game warm-ups prior to an exhibition game in Oakland last month...

Maybe he has Nick Perry syndrome? Linebacker with shoulder issues is not good.

PAPackerbacker's picture

Would love to see Burks play against the Vikings. He has speed, can tackle, and can cover. The Packers need his skills against a strong opponent like the Vikings. Will be interesting to see how Burks is used under the Pettine defense, if he can play. Cousins is more of a pocket passer and isn't all that mobil. So if the Packers cover receivers well they may get a few sacks in this game. And may even force a fumble or two. Or force Cousins to throw an interception or two. Go! Pack! Go!

Dash Riprock's picture

This is a much much bigger deal than most realize. Burks is a game changer for his particular skill set. Him being on the field is much bigger than a healthy Clay Matthews rushing the quarterback. I saw him all preseason and he's quite the talent. Love that he's coming back soon (hopefully).

Duke Divine's picture

This would be a nice boost. He’s a sideline to sideline guy!

PatrickGB's picture

But can he rush the passer?

Qoojo's picture

He is mainly there to cover, and provide better run support so Pettine doesn't have to stay dime the whole game and give up big runs.

Dash Riprock's picture

He can do it all. He's the Ty Montgomery of the defense.

cheesehead1's picture

Looking forward to see Burks in action. Preseason is one thing for him, now comes the real test. Hope the D overall improves. QB pressure was lacking against the Bears, so it’s time to get after Cousins. Go Packers.

PatrickGB's picture

I expect a lot of runs from Cook. If we come out with the five dbs then whoever is in the middle has to provide run support as well as rush potential.

Matt Gonzales's picture

I expect the coverage team to play tight and rely on ILB for run coverage. If Burks and Martinez are both on the field I think GB will also run their share of slot blitzes and try to disguise coverage. The linebackers last week had some great heads-up plays dropping into coverage to prevent quick passes to Cohen, which will be needed to contain Cook.

MITM's picture

I just cant seem to convince myself that this shoulder is going to hold up all season, and if that is the case then it sucks for Oren, the defense/team and lastly us the fans.

The subtle things I noticed from him in preseason showed him being much further along in the process of transitioning to a fulltime ILB than I would have thought and that had me very excited. Ive been singing his praises since we drafted him and had my expectations kinda high for him in preseason to begin with only for him to exceed them. He is going to be awesome. The whole defense is going to be noticeably better with him on the field. We NEED this kid to be healthy.

PatrickGB's picture

Matt, I think that you are dead on. As far as Burks, my thought is that his shoulder is no big deal. It may have just popped out. A freak injury. My bigger concern is that he is still a rookie and might make a few mistakes in coverage.

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