NFC North at night

Sifting through Wednesday's newsbits in the NFC North:

Chicago Bears: Running back Marion Barber (calf), tight end Kellen Davis (illness), defensive end Julius Peppers (not injury related) and linebacker Brian Urlacher (knee) did not practice. Barber doesn't seem likely to play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Meanwhile, coach Lovie Smith was angered by questions about the future of offensive coordinator Mike Martz and wouldn't answer. Martz's contract expires after this season.

Detroit Lions: Cornerback Chris Houston was wearing a cast on his left hand but told reporters he injured his pinky finger and does not have a fracture. Hmmmm. Coach Jim Schwartz said it wasn't a long-term injury. Houston, safety Louis Delmas (knee), receiver Calvin Johnson (Achilles), defensive tackle Corey Williams (hip) and defensive end Willie Young (ankle) did not practice.

Green Bay Packers: Tight end Jermichael Finley reported knee soreness Wednesday and did not participate in practice. Neither did offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga (knee), receiver Randall Cobb (groin) nor running back James Starks (knee/ankle). Receiver Greg Jennings ran on the side during practice but was declared out for Sunday's game against the Lions. Offensive lineman Chad Clifton (hamstring/back) practiced. So did defensive lineman Ryan Pickett, who has been cleared after suffering a concussion earlier this month.

Minnesota Vikings: Quarterback Christian Ponder (concussion) was cleared to practice after and will start Sunday against the Bears, according to coach Leslie Frazier. Left guard Steve Hutchinson, who was placed on injured reserve this week because of a concussion, will "have some decisions he'll have to make after this season is over," according to coach Leslie Frazier. That suggests retirement could be an option.