We're Black and Blue All Over:
It's quite possible that the attention on Peyton Manning's departure from the Indianapolis Colts caused you to miss the Jerry Springer-worthy opening statements from the felony strangulation trial of Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook.
Prosecutors stuck to the story laid out in the original charges, saying that Cook struck and choked his girlfriend after learning she was texting with another man during the early-morning hours of Oct. 22. Cook's attorney, however, provided a different version of the story.
It's all in this Associated Press report, but the short version is that the argument began at a Minneapolis strip club. Cook ordered a lap dance, enraging his girlfriend, whereupon she stormed out. Drunk, the girlfriend began texting the other man, which deflated Cook because, the attorney said, Cook planned to propose to her later that weekend.
According to Cook's version, the girlfriend punched him when they returned to his home. Cook retaliated in self-defense. The girlfriend will recant her earlier testimony that Cook choked her, according to Cook's attorney.
In the end, this ridiculousness is important only because a felony conviction would jeopardize Cook's future with the team. We'll keep you updated.
Continuing around the NFC North:
One of the Vikings' stadium bill authors has outlined a tight timetable to receive legislative approval this year. Mike Kaszuba of the Star Tribune explains.
USC left tackle Matt Kalil, who could be the Vikings' top pick in the draft, speaks with the NFL Network following a short Pro Day workout.
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune questions whether Kyle Orton will be the Chicago Bears' backup quarterback in 2012.
Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com considers former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard a more realistic option for the Bears.
Bears coach Lovie Smith spent time with Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill this week, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
After a toxicology report revealed their son died with alcohol and marijuana in his system, former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin and his family released a statement that read, in part: "The loss of a child and sibling is absolutely heartbreaking to a family. Ours is no different. We hope that the results of the recent toxicology report serves as a reminder to us all that the mixture of alcohol and marijuana can be extremely dangerous, potentially even fatal." Patricia Wolff of Gannett Wisconsin has more.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wonders if Packers general manager Ted Thompson attended Wisconsin's pro day to see guard Kevin Zeitler, who is being projected as a center.
The Detroit Lions aren't viewing the Packers as a measuring stick, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.