Dak Prescott is pushing to play Sunday night, and the Dallas Cowboys plan to have their star quarterback go through his normal pregame warmup routine to test his strained calf before making a final decision on whether he'll start against the Minnesota Vikings, sources say.
Backup QB Cooper Rush took all the team reps in practice this week and would get his first NFL start if Prescott can't go.
But as of Saturday night, the Cowboys hadn't ruled out Prescott, who got reps in walkthroughs and a little 7-on-7 work during the week. He'll go full speed through a throwing session with receivers and other activities before Sunday's prime-time game in hopes of getting the green light.
Sunday marks two weeks since Prescott first strained the calf on his game-winning touchdown pass in overtime at New England. He got an injection the next day that brought him relief, and the Cowboys are confident the injury is minor. But Prescott was sore after ramping things up Thursday and threw on the side during Saturday's practice before the flight to Minnesota. The last thing the Cowboys want is a setback that turns a minor injury into a lingering one.
As one informed source said, if there is any doubt at all, Prescott won't play. Just as the Cowboys did with Prescott's shoulder strain that ended up sidelining him for most of training camp, they're taking a long-term approach with a player who has performed like an MVP candidate during the Cowboys' 5-1 start.
Cowboys associate athletic trainer and director of rehabilitation Britt Brown -- who led Prescott's recovery from last year's devastating ankle injury -- and quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier will help put Prescott through the pregame workout, as they always do. Given Prescott's importance to the organization, the conversation on whether he plays Sunday figures to go all the way to the top, including owner/president/general manager Jerry Jones.
Rush, 27, has appeared in six regular-season NFL games over the past five years but hasn't thrown a pass since 2017. The Cowboys released him after signing Andy Dalton as Prescott's backup in May 2020. But Rush returned on the practice squad in October after a stint with the Giants, won the backup job in camp this year and has always been a favorite of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
It has been a difficult week on multiple levels for Prescott, who briefly left Thursday night to be with family after the death of his maternal grandmother, Margaret Ebarb. Prescott wrote in a social media post: "We wouldn't be here without you and I promise to Make you Proud!"