We’re Black and Blue All Over:
ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton turned up an interesting nugget in his weekly "First and 10" column. According to Clayton, the contract of Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress is guaranteed for significantly less money than we thought.
The contract Childress signed last year was advertised as extending through the 2013 season. In fact, the final year is a team option. That means the guaranteed portion of the deal ends after 2012. Clayton reported that Childress is due a total of $6.6 million over those two seasons.
Looked at another way, the buyout on Childress’ deal is about 42 percent of what the Vikings are paying quarterback Brett Favre this season. That total is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s much less than the $12 million previously reported. The revised figures are something to keep an eye on moving forward.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "Jared Allen's calf-roping sack celebration symbolized the Vikings' dominant defense when the fan favorite pass rusher used to stalk quarterbacks. These days, Minnesota's sagging defense is best characterized by images of players with their hands on their hips, heads hanging in dejection after yielding another first down to an offense on the march."
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com considers the Sidney Rice situation in the context of the Vikings' big-picture roster dilemma.
The Vikings have already surpassed their 2009 season total in turnovers, notes Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.
Here's what Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith said after a 16-0 victory over the Miami Dolphins, via David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune: "We wanted to put the pressure on that second-place team behind us."
The Bears have found a familiar recipe for success, writes Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com.
It's only fair to point out the Bears had a few things going for them Thursday night, writes Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times. Among them: The Dolphins started No. 3 quarterback Tyler Thigpen.
Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com chronicles defensive end Julius Peppers' three-sack game.
The Bears are continuing to improve offensively, writes Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.
The Detroit Lions have a tough matchup Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys' big wide receivers, writes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
How much patience should Lions fans have with this team? That's what John Niyo of the Detroit News is asking.
The Packers are excited about using rookie Sam Shields as a kick returner, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Although place-kicker Mason Crosby's conversion rate has dropped in each of his four seasons, the Packers' support of him has never wavered. Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette has more.
Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji has quietly made a big impact this season, according to Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.