Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Burrow still on track for Week 1, hopes to reach '100%' before training camp

CINCINNATI -- The best-case scenario occurred for Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow on his road to recovery: absolutely nothing.

Burrow's surgically repaired left knee showed no troublesome signs through the team's 10 offseason practices, including Tuesday's mandatory minicamp. Burrow's optimism for playing in Cincinnati's season opener against the Minnesota Vikings remains intact. With the knee still around 85%, he said, the goal is for the 2020 top overall draft pick to get back to full strength ahead of training camp.

"The knee still has a little ways to go, but my upper body, my right leg, everything else feels better than it ever has before," Burrow said. "When I'm on the field and executing, I'm playing better than I ever have before. So I'll continue the program we were on and get back to 100% before camp."

Burrow participated in all nine of the team's organized team activities and the mandatory minicamp that ended after the first of three scheduled days. Bengals coach Zac Taylor canceled the last two days, citing the team's full participation and quality work over the past month. Bengals safety Jessie Bates suggested the team's rising COVID-19 vaccination rates also played a role in the early dismissal.

Burrow displayed his progress during Tuesday's workout at Paul Brown Stadium. He worked on rolling out of the pocket and throwing on the move. In 7-on-7 drills, Burrow didn't throw a single incompletion, with the session highlighted by a pass down the right hashmarks to wide receiver Stanley Morgan. Burrow watched from behind during the team's 11-on-11 drills as quarterback Brandon Allen took reps.

Throughout the offseason workouts, the Bengals have worked extensively to protect their franchise quarterback, who tore multiple ligaments in his left knee. Burrow hasn't faced a pass rush yet -- even during the team's half-speed walkthrough sessions closed to the media -- for precautionary reasons, Taylor said.

However, the coach was encouraged by Burrow's activity and progress in recent weeks.

"He's done a great job," Taylor said. "He looks good, certainly not all the way there yet, so there's still a process we have to follow leading into training camp, but you guys have been out there. I think everybody's optimistic."

Taylor didn't want to make any definitive statements on Burrow's Week 1 availability, or even on whether Burrow will get reps in preseason games.

But Burrow said he was happy with the state of his knee as the team prepares for the start of training camp at the end of July.

"I'll be ready to go for the season as long as there's no setbacks," Burrow said. "Right now, it's looking good."