We're Black and Blue All Over:
Can you believe it? We've already reached the end of two NFC North training camps. A third will wrap up Thursday, a moment that brings us that much closer to the start of the regular season.
The Minnesota Vikings wrapped their final practice Wednesday at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and the Chicago Bears will pack up and leave Olivet Nazarene University on Thursday. Wednesday was also the Detroit Lions' final practice open to the public at their permanent training facility in Allen Park, Mich. (Technically, the Green Bay Packers' training camp continues through Aug. 28.)
We hashed through our final thoughts of CampTour'12 earlier this week, and with the near-elimination of two-a-day practices, the process of team building won't change too much next week.
Let's take a quick tour around the division on a day that will bring us the start of preseason Week 2:
Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune lists five conclusions from Vikings camp, noting, among other things, that defensive end Jared Allen worked hard to make rookie left tackle Matt Kalil a better player.
Quarterback Christian Ponder finished camp on a high note, writes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Vikings defensive end Brian Robison, via Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com: "I learned that we're definitely going to compete. We're going to give it everything we've got. Guys are being in tune to what we need to get done."
New Green Bay Packers tailback Cedric Benson got no incentives in his one-year contract, according to Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, meaning he will earn $825,000 for the season no matter how he plays.
Second-year linebacker D.J. Smith is the only Packers linebacker on the field in the team's 4-1 defense in practice, notes Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "Tom Clements might have gotten a new job, but the Green Bay Packers' first-year offensive coordinator still spends his game days in the same ol' location: On the sideline."
Lions coach Jim Schwartz on the return of tailback Mikel Leshoure to a portion of practice, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "Being back in individual [drills] isn't being back on the field yet. Until he's taking team reps, until he's finishing down the field, he's still limited participation."
Lions receiver Ryan Broyles is trying to remain positive during a largely inactive camp, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Defensive ends Willie Young and Lawrence Jackson have stood out this summer, notes Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
The Chicago Bears want to have a wide-ranging offense, writes Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.
Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune explores the Bears' new options in the red zone.
Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times sums up the Bears' training camp experience.