Packers' Bakhtiari on track to start vs. Vikings

by Ricardo Gutierrez - David Bakhtiari, who has played only part of one game since suffering a knee injury more than 20 months ago, says he's on track to start Sunday.

Green Bay Packers LT David Bakhtiari says he's on track to start opener vs. Minnesota Vikings 5:13 PM ET Rob DemovskyESPN Staff Writer Close Covered Packers for Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1997-2013 Two-time Wisconsin Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association GREEN BAY, Wis. -- David Bakhtiari , the Green Bay Packers ' All-Pro left tackle who has played only part of one game since he suffered a serious knee injury more than 20 months ago, said he believes he is on track to start in Sunday's regular-season opener at the Minnesota Vikings . Bakhtiari on Monday participated in 11-on-11 drills, something he said he's been doing for several practices since training camp ended. After Monday's practice, he told ESPN he believes it's realistic to expect him to start against the Vikings. "Yeah, I mean, I'm on the active [roster] just like anyone else," Bakhtiari said. Bakhtiari missed all of this year's offseason practices and was not activated off the physically unable to perform list until late in training camp. Last season, he returned briefly but experienced complications and was shut down for the playoffs. This offseason he underwent a third knee surgery, which was his third since the initial tear of his left ACL on Dec. 31, 2020. He was on a snap count during last year's return, playing just 27 plays in the regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions . When asked if he could get through a full game on Sunday, he took it step further. "I can get through the season," Bakhtiari said. "It's going to be fine. You have to just manage while playing. "I'm just getting back in the swing of things. So, I mean, I think there's normal rust and then new normal with three surgeries, so just kind of working that out and figuring out what my routine is." Bakhtiari's apparent return settles the left tackle spot and leaves Elgton Jenkins as the only question on the offensive line. Jenkins, who tore his left ACL last November at Minnesota, also is on the active roster after spending much of training camp on the PUP. A Pro Bowl left guard in 2020, Jenkins suffered his knee injury while filling in for Bakhtiari at left tackle. He will likely move to right tackle upon his return, but coach Matt LaFleur sounded vague about Jenkins' status on Monday. "We'll have to find out on Sunday," LaFleur said. The only player on the 53-man roster who did not practice Monday was Allen Lazard , who is expected to replace Davante Adams as the Packers' No. 1 receiver. Lazard has been seen working out with the team's rehabilitation staff off to the side during practice, but the team has not disclosed a reason. The first official injury report will come out Wednesday. "I think Allen's doing better," LaFleur said. "But we'll see as the week progresses where he's at."