Cowboys QB Dak Prescott expected to be ready for Week 8 prime-time clash against Vikings

One week after Dak Prescott suffered a calf injury on the final play of a thrilling overtime win against the New England Patriots, the Dallas Cowboys remain optimistic their star quarterback will be ready to make his next start next Sunday night at Minnesota -- though they are proceeding carefully.

Sources say Prescott is not expected to participate in a light practice Monday when the team returns from its bye. The soonest he would practice is Wednesday, and the team will monitor him closely to make sure he's moving like himself and not putting himself at risk of a relatively minor issue turning into something more.

It's the same long-term thinking the Cowboys used back in training camp, when Prescott missed substantial time because of a muscle strain in his throwing shoulder. The plan all along was to ramp him up gradually, and Prescott was ready for the opener.

Prescott spent most of the bye week in town and rehabbing at the team's facility. Under the watchful eyes of director of rehabilitation Britt Brown and head athletic trainer Jim Maurer, Prescott has mostly worked out in the pool. He's been able to do all of his footwork drills and running while in the pool, rarely on solid ground. That's all to make sure he doesn't aggravate the calf injury.

He's been all smiles in the building -- another reason the Cowboys are optimistic he'll be ready to roll. Even on Saturday, Prescott was doing his rehab work, slightly ahead of where the Cowboys thought he would be.

Prescott has emerged as an early MVP frontrunner, completing a career-high 73.1% of his passes for 1,813 yards and 16 touchdowns in six games for the Cowboys, who have won five in a row since the season-opening loss at Tampa Bay.

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