Erasmus James: I'll Be Ready For The Season Opener (May 1--7:00 p.m.)
# 99 Erasmus James
NFL Experience: 2
Vikings defensive end Erasmus James spent the past 8 months rehabilitating his injured left knee. But today, James gave strong indication that he will be fully recovered by the opening game against the Falcons.
"I'm feeling great and taking it one day at a time--the doctor last week came back and gave me some great news--so what I do now is step forward. I think I'll be ready for the season..that's the plan..right now that's what the doctors are telling me", James told me earlier today.
James injured his knee in week two against the Carolina Panthers in 2006. A torn anterior cruciate ligament knocked him out for the rest of the season. For the past eight months, James has worked feverishly to get his knee and his body back into NFL shape. He spent a significant amount of time in Vail, Colorado, working on the knee. He said it's been tough, although I reminded him that Vail isn't the worst place in the world to get the knee fixed. He smiled, and reminded me that he watched skiers plow through the snow every day while he sat inside. I got the picture.
When asked if he would be ready for the Vikings up-coming mini-camp practices in June, James called that "a one-day-at-a-time process."
James and his doctors still haven't cleared James for full-contact practice, which means that his availability at the start of July training camp is still in question at this point. But his doctors do feel comfortable enough to project a full recovery by the Falcons game.
James has been through all of this before. In 2003, as a junior at Wisconsin, he injured his hip and was lost for the year.
"It puts a lot in perspective, this happened my junior year in college and I came back angry and hungry and I think that's what it's done this time as well", James said.
For the sake of the Vikings pass rush, which ranked last in the league last year, a healthy and angry James is just what the doctor ordered.
Ryan Kibbe - Sports Reporter