We're Black and Blue All Over:
On Thursday, we discussed the race between the Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Rams for the No. 2 overall pick of the 2012 draft. The Rams are currently "ahead," but NFC West colleague Mike Sando thinks the Vikings have the upper hand if both teams finish the season 2-14.
Regardless, it appears that at least one of those teams will have USC left tackle Matt Kalil on their boards at No. 2 overall. ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that Kalil has begun informing school officials that he will bypass his final year of eligibility and enter the draft.
ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both have Kalil ranked as the draft's second-best prospect behind Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who figures to go No. 1 overall to the Indianapolis Colts. The Vikings have a tremendous need at left tackle after waiving starter Bryant McKinnie at the start of training camp.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com offers a damning look at what appears to be the Vikings' dysfunctional defense, suggesting that defensive backs have refused to run the coverages called by coordinator Fred Pagac and that there is discussion under way to switch to a 3-4 defense in 2012 with linebackers coach Mike Singletary as the defensive coordinator.
Fantasy owners have been giving tailback Adrian Peterson a hard time about sitting out the past three games, notes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune.
Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPNDallas.com on the news that Chicago Bears receiver Sam Hurd, a long-time Dallas Cowboys player, had been arrested on drug charges: "The person described in the complaint sounds nothing like the person I knew. We're talking about one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, a person I never heard utter a profanity."
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune wonders if the Bears should have been aware of the investigation into Hurd's dealings. Haugh: "Making Bears officials unavailable to discuss a player accused of trying to buy 1,000 pounds of marijuana and five to 10 kilograms of cocaine a week only enhanced the perception that the team should have known more about someone who fooled everybody but the feds."
Hurd's presumed departure from the Bears will hurt their special teams, writes Brad Biggs of the Tribune.
The Detroit Lions aren't forcing the ball to receiver Calvin Johnson, writes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
Johnson is likely to make the Pro Bowl, notes Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
A game between the Lions and Oakland Raiders figures to be heavy on penalties, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel checks in with Packers safety Nick Collins, who is a month or two away from finding out if he'll be able to return to football for the 2012 season after a Week 2 neck injury.
Packers receiver Tori Gurley turned down an offer to sign with the Vikings' 53-man roster in exchange for a raise to remain on the Packers' practice squad. The Green Bay Press-Gazette explains.
Gurley, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "I'm learning from some of the best receivers in the game right now. Our offense, the way it's clicking, the grass isn't going to be greener on the other side. My opportunity is going to come."