We're Black and Blue All Over:
The second of two first-round draft choices doesn't usually get much public attention in training camp, so it's no surprise that Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith has been overshadowed by discussion about left tackle Matt Kalil. Until reading Judd Zulgad's column on 1500ESPN.com, I actually forgot that I spoke with Smith during my visit to Vikings training camp and found him to be an intense and confident personality.
Zulgad writes that Smith was a respectful rookie during training camp, but was clearly not a pushover -- as evidenced by several standoffs with receiver Percy Harvin. Smith has impressed coaches to the point where he is expected to start the Vikings' preseason game Friday night against the Buffalo Bills.
Said defensive coordinator Alan Williams: "You want your safeties to be quarterbacks and smart but you want some nastiness to them too, and he has that."
The Vikings and Detroit Lions will be in action Friday night, while the Chicago Bears will take the field Saturday evening. Remember, we wrapped up the Green Bay Packers' preseason effort from Thursday night a few hours ago.
So while we have a minute, let's take a tour around Minnesota, Detroit and Chicago on this fine Friday morning:
The Vikings are still looking for receivers to step up behind Harvin and Jerome Simpson, writes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield, via Bob Sansevere of the Pioneer Press: "I wouldn't say [I'm] 'in my prime.' I'd say I'm still productive. I'm still able to make plays. I'm still able to run with these receivers, and I still love the game and enjoy playing."
The Vikings believe they have an improved secondary, writes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune.
The Lions are expected to start cornerback Jacob Lacey, with rookie Bill Bentley in the nickel, against the Baltimore Ravens. That and more from Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
More than anything, the Lions want to see improvement Friday night, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
The Ravens defense will be a good test for the Lions, notes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
The Bears will hold a short practice Friday morning, closed to the public, and then break training camp, notes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times profiles the family side of Bears coach Lovie Smith.
Tight end Kyle Adams is making a push for a spot on the Bears' final roster, notes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.