We're Black and Blue All Over:
Some of you have asked how the Detroit Lions' unique camp leg fared during the offseason. Here's what we can tell you about Havard Rugland, a.k.a. "Kickalicious:" He apparently did well enough to earn a trip to training camp.
Even that minor accomplishment wasn't a given for a place-kicker who rose to fame with a viral YouTube video of trick kicks. There is a big difference between those maneuvers and actual NFL success, but Rugland had plenty of opportunities as presumed 2013 starter David Akers sat out most of the offseason because of a hip injury. Via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Rugland "passed" all of the preliminary tests of basic football and added:
"Every step along the way, he's done a good job with that. So the next thing is when the game's live and guys are really bearing down on him and there's pressure involved in the kick. But that's something that won’t come for a while now. He's done a nice job working through all the different things that are new to him. That's encouraging to see."
At this point, there is not much debate about the pecking order between Akers and Rugland on the Lions' depth chart. But at the very least, Rugland promises to give the Lions an intriguing wrinkle in training camp.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press: "Staying out of trouble for the next month won’t guarantee the Lions 10 victories in the coming season. But if the team’s truly serious about getting serious, getting through the next five weeks until the start of training camp without an embarrassing arrest could be a telling indicator of maturity missing from 2012."
Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com has the story of two Chicago Bears players, and one former player, who spent a week in Germany last month "on a USO Illinois tour visiting military bases, hospitals and schools to thank the troops and their families for the sacrifices they make."
Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette looks at the Green Bay Packers' mix of offseason work and fun.
The Packers haven't lost hope in safety Sean Richardson, who is recovering from a significant neck injury and subsequent surgery. More from Hodkiewicz in the Press-Gazette.
It shouldn't be surprising that the Minnesota Vikings are still looking into options at middle linebacker, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Vikings tight end John Carlson is healthy and ready to contribute this season after a "debacle" in 2013, Carlson told Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Rookie Vikings linebacker Michael Mauti participated in individual drills during the first day of minicamp, continuing his recovery from a torn ACL. More from the Star Tribune.