We’re Black and Blue All Over:
The latest weather forecast for Monday night in the Twin Cities: A low of 3 degrees, a 30 percent chance of snow and wind chills around minus-8. I would imagine playing in that type of weather will be a shock to many players, especially on a non-heated field that as of late Wednesday night was still coated by a sheet of ice. The location of Monday night's game between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears remains unconfirmed, and it seems the primary reason the Vikings want it to be at TCF Bank Stadium is to cap off a weekend celebration of their 50th anniversary team in retro, outdoors style.
Players don't have much of a say in the matter, but it doesn't mean they have to like it. Vikings punter Chris Kluwe offered this sarcastic (I think) tweet: "Dear Twitter followers. I regret to inform you that upon hearing the news of playing at [TCF], my hamstring involuntarily exploded. Good day." Kluwe also jokingly asked where he should hide his flask during the game.
In all seriousness, the unprecedented nature of the switch from the Metrodome to TCF Bank Stadium has got a few people jumpy. The Vikings have yet to confirm the game’s location, but the Associated Press quoted Vikings vice president of public affairs Lester Bagley saying: "We're confident that we're going to have a great experience. It's our celebration of our 50th season, and we're going to end it the way we began. We beat the Bears in our first game, and we're going to beat them again this year."
That quote was buried in a news story but still found its way to Bears safety Chris Harris, who tweeted: "I'm curious as to how Lester Bagley (Vikings VP of public affairs) can guarantee a win n you're not stepping a foot on the field #notsmart."
It's on now.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune spoke with some other Vikings players who also don't appear enthused about playing at TCF. Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe: "Is that really a home-field advantage for us? That's the question. But at the same time, we have to go out there and play, and we'll play hard."
The Vikings didn't announce it, but Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports the Vikings have agreed to terms with veteran quarterback Patrick Ramsey, who is expected to back up likely starter Joe Webb on Monday night.
A Minnesota legislator said she plans to introduce a Vikings stadium bill to the state legislature by late January, writes Mike Kaszuba of the Star Tribune.
The site of the game makes a big difference for special teams, writes ESPNChicago.com's Michael C. Wright.
The game should be moved to a domed stadium, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.
Bears tailback Chester Taylor isn't worried about his historically low production this season, writes Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times. Taylor: "It hasn't been frustrating because we've been winning."
Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com profiles easy-going quarterback Matt Flynn, the Green Bay Packers' likely starter Sunday night against the New England Patriots.
Packers rookie linebacker Frank Zombo (knee) is unlikely to play against the Patriots, writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Next up: Journeyman Erik Walden.
The Detroit Lions placed right tackle Gosder Cherilus (knee) on injured reserve, notes Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News. Corey Hilliard is expected to be his replacement for the rest of the season.
Lions safety Louis Delmas is expected to have surgery on his groin after the season, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Drew Sharp of the Free Press on the potential return of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford this season: "[C]ommon sense should prevail here. It's pointless maintaining this charade. Stafford still can't throw comfortably. Write this year off. Get him healthy for 2011."