Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
By my count, the NFC North is one of two divisions without a single "Wildcat" snap this season. And, as you no doubt know by now, the Wildcat offense -- where a non-quarterback takes a shotgun snap -- is all the rage in the NFL this season.
(The AFC South is the other holdout.)
(Thanks to a couple readers who pointed out that I should have typed "AFC South" instead of "NFC South" in the original version of this post.)
But there are still seven games remaining, and you never know when one of our Black and Blue teams might get fancy. So let's have a little fun and take a look at the possibilities. In alphabetical order, as always:
Chicago: Offensive coordinator Ron Turner has hinted the Bears have practiced the formation using receiver/kick returner Devin Hester as the "quarterback." Chicago fans are no doubt salivating over that possibility. Can you imagine Hester running an option play? Or simply treading water in the backfield until he spots an opening, as he has done on many of his touchdown returns? Another possibility is receiver Rashied Davis, who is a pretty good open-field runner as well.
Detroit: I'm sure Lions fans would love to see receiver Calvin Johnson line up as the quarterback and put his open-field abilities to the test. But doing so would eliminate pressure to defend against a long pass in that formation. I like the idea of lining up tailback Kevin Smith and having him take off in the same direction as Johnson's route. Smith would get the option of either turning the corner or throwing Johnson's way. It might get a few yards -- or at least sell a few tickets.
Green Bay: If nothing else, a direct snap to tailback Ryan Grant might jump-start the Packers' stagnant running game. And if Kansas City's Tyler Thigpen can run a deep touchdown route out of the Wildcat, so can the Packers' Aaron Rodgers. But to put the maximum pressure on a defense, Green Bay would probably need to put one of their starting receivers, Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, in the backfield. Both are good open-field runners. I can envision Driver motoring around the edge of a surprised defense.
Minnesota: Coach Brad Childress' commitment to the fundamentals of his offense makes the Vikings one of the unlikeliest teams to run the Wildcat. But they have some intriguing personnel for the job, starting with tailback Adrian Peterson. I have no idea if he can throw the ball -- unlike many players, Peterson doesn't toss the ball around during practice -- but a few direct snaps could put a defense on its heel. Tailback Chester Taylor has shown decent touch on a few trick plays, and receiver Sidney Rice proved to have a gun on two option passes last season.