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Black and Blue all over: Culpepper the starter?

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
With three months left until training camp, we have two full-fledged quarterback competitions in the NFC North. Well, maybe 1 1/2.

Detroit general manger Martin Mayhew gave strong indications Sunday that veteran Daunte Culpepper will open the season as the starter over rookie Matthew Stafford. That move has been expected and comes despite what was reported to be a strong performance by Stafford during the Lions' rookie minicamp over the weekend.

Unless something changes, that will leave us with Minnesota's battle between Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels (and, maybe, some guy named Favre) as the division's only quarterback competition in training camp.

Here's what Mayhew said Sunday, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press:

"He's a pro, and I trust Daunte. He's got a lot of ability, and I anticipate that if we had something to do today, Daunte would be the guy today. But we've got a lot of time to work, and we'll see how it goes."

Mayhew is an old-school ex-player, and it would have been surprising to hear him effusively praise a rookie. But I continue to believe that the Lions prefer to give Stafford at least some development time on the bench if they can.

Let's continue around the division after a weekend of rookie minicamps:

  • Lions coach Jim Schwartz said he didn't realize how well Stafford was throwing until he watched film of practice Friday and Saturday, according to John Niyo of the Detroit News. Stafford: "I felt like I threw most of 'em pretty good."

  • One of Stafford's few mistakes was an interception to second-round pick Louis Delmas -- a safety who had the best camp of any rookie, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.

  • Mayhew said he is "actively looking" for a veteran backup quarterback to add to the roster, according to David Birkett of the Oakland Press. That doesn't bode well for local hero Drew Stanton.

  • Chicago coach Lovie Smith indicated that both of his safety positions could be in flux this summer, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times. One likely starter, Kevin Payne, is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune profiles rookie cornerback D.J. Moore of Vanderbilt. Moore, listed at 5-foot-9 in draft guides, actually measured in at 5-8. Moore: "Doesn't bother me. Some guys can't jump. You might be 6 feet with a 30-inch vertical. Well, I'm 5-9 with a 39 1/2-inch vertical. I might play a little taller than those guys."

  • Bears general manager Jerry Angelo on the possibility of Brett Favre returning to the game: "I'm just reading the newspapers like everyone else. He says he wants to stay retired, and I hope that is what he does. We have great memories of him. We wish him well." Read more in the Sun-Times.

  • Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune breaks down the likelihood of Favre returning to play for the Vikings. One tidbit in an accompanying blog item: Favre has spoken recently with Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, one of his former quarterbacks coach in Green Bay.

  • Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press profiles hard-hitting linebacker Jasper Brinkley, the Vikings' fifth-round draft pick.

  • Packers coach Mike McCarthy said it's likely he won't add a fourth quarterback to his current depth chart for training camp. Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette looks at Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn and Brian Brohm.

  • Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiles Packers first-round pick B.J. Raji. Nickel: "Size, speed, skill -- those who know Raji best said he has it all, which was why he was taken ninth overall last weekend in the first place. However, what became clear upon meeting Raji in person this weekend was how easily he seems to have embraced his new team and the surreal expectations that come with being a top draft pick in Green Bay."

  • Raji won't be the starter at nose tackle, writes Greg A. Bedard of the Journal Sentinel. Ryan Pickett will start there, with a rotation to be determined thereafter. I envision that changing over time.

  • Safety Nick Collins, who wants the Packers to begin negotiations on a contract extension, ended his boycott of the offseason program and participated in some meetings last week. McCarthy revealed that Sunday, according to the Press-Gazette.