We're Black and Blue All Over:
Good morning. I hope everyone had an enjoyable and respectful Memorial Day weekend. This is a relatively quiet time of the NFL calendar, but it will mark the arrival of all four NFC North teams to organized team activities.
The Minnesota Vikings will open OTAs this week, a week (or more) later than the rest of the division because coach Leslie Frazier wants to get rookies as much productive work as possible. OTAs will continue through the middle of June, sandwiched around mandatory minicamp in the case of the Green Bay Packers, and the final event of the offseason will be the Vikings' minicamp from June 18-20.
(The Chicago Bears are taking a week off from OTAs during the shortened holiday week.)
After that, players and in most cases coaches, will have time off until the start of training camp in late July. It's amazing that we're even looking that far ahead on our short-range calendar. Tempus fugit and all that.
Let's take our morning tour around the division.
Good column from Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, who isn't buying efforts to turn defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh into a team leader. McCosky: "I would caution against trying to force Suh into being something he's not. He's not going to be that rah-rah type guy. He's not going to preside over a team meeting. He's not going to be the guy who invites his teammates over to his place for a cookout. That stuff is not in his DNA. He is aloof by nature. He has admitted this. He doesn't let a lot of people get close to him. He takes a very individualistic approach to a team game."
Oft-injured Lions offensive lineman Jason Fox on being healthy and ready to compete for a starting job, via Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press: "It's a new feeling to come in where I can come in and focus on technique and all the things you're supposed to work on as an offensive lineman without having to go to rehab right after practice. It's a great feeling, and I'm excited about it."
Reggie Bush is willing to return punts for the Lions, but he doesn't sound thrilled about it, according to Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.
Here is an exhaustive look at every one of Green Bay Packers cornerback Casey Hayward's rookie snaps from Cian Fahey for presnapreads.com. The conclusion: "He has all the tools to turn into the best cornerback in the NFL and he is already a very, very good slot cornerback."
Former Packers defensive back Charles Woodson acknowledges the obvious: The Packers are going young at safety. More from Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwauke.com.
Packers receiver Jeremy Ross is moving on from his punt muff in the divisional playoffs, writes Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Packers offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse on being replaced at left tackle, via Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "I do realize they had to make a decision, and my play was part of them thinking they had to make a decision. So I understand that, I accept that. But I also know I've had a lot of success, so I have to accept the role I've been given and go at it 100 percent. That's all I can really do."
Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com looks at three storylines entering OTAs for the Vikings, including the middle linebacker situation.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com looks at two members of the Vikings' practice squad from 2012 who have decent chances to win spots on the 53-man roster in 2013.
Dennis Anderson of the Star Tribune tells a riveting story about the destruction of former Vikings coach Bud Grant's land in northwest Wisconsin.
Brian Urlacher ranked his top five games with the Chicago Bears for Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.
Urlacher never forgot his New Mexico roots, writes Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Offensive lineman Kyle Long will be the only Bears rookie to get significant playing time outside of special teams, predicts Dan Pompei of the Tribune. That includes linebackers Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene, who would seem to have chances to win starting jobs.