We're Black and Blue All Over:
In discussing the Minnesota Vikings' stadium situation Wednesday, a top official told the Associated Press that the team would pay for one-third of the cost of an open-air stadium. Lester Bagley, vice president of stadium development and public affairs, said the team doesn't need a roof, which could add more than $200 million to what would otherwise be a $700 million project.
Bagley's statement was newsworthy because it signified the team plans no changes to its long-standing approach on financing this project. The Vikings know that an open-air stadium is far less likely to be approved by the state legislature than either a dome or one with a retractable roof, which would allow events to be held in the facility year-round and serve as a true replacement for the Metrodome. But the Vikings want to position those who would benefit from a roof -- state taxpayers -- to pay for the additional expense.
For the Vikings, it's a difference between paying about $230 million and perhaps $300 million for their share of the project.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune examines the quarterbacks who might be available to the Vikings in the draft.
One of the executives behind a potential stadium in Los Angeles told the Associated Press, via the St. Paul Pioneer Press, that he is not in active talks with the Vikings about relocating.
Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com examines how the Green Bay Packers' tight ends picked up the pieces following Jermichael Finley's season-ending injury.
Here's how Gary D'Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel describes the Atlanta Falcons: "Methodical. Disciplined. Resourceful."
The Packers will have to deal with the Falcons' dangerous kick returner, Eric Weems, notes Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune on Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler: "So as a public service to a football city swept away in playoff hype for the first time since the [Rex] Grossman Era, please disregard everything Cutler said during his weekly press conference. It was forgettable nonsense that left an inaccurate impression of an aloof team, irrelevant in every way to Sunday's game...."
Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times on Cutler: "Can a person have an image problem if he doesn't care about his image? This tree-falling-in-the-forest question pertains to Bears quarterback Jay Cutler."
The Bears' offensive line played so poorly earlier this season against the Seattle Seahawks that offensive line coach Mike Tice couldn't show all of the film to his players this week, writes Vaughn McClure of the Tribune.
Louisiana State cornerback Patrick Peterson would be an excellent draft choice for the Detroit Lions, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.