NFC North: Adrian Petrson
Wednesday is normally one of the busiest days of the NFL week. It's when recovery time from the previous game officially ends and earnest preparation begins for the next game.
This Wednesday, however, will be pretty quiet with three of the NFC North's four teams entering their bye week. Only the Lions have a game scheduled (for Sunday against Washington), and so things will be a little slower here at the NFC North blog as well.
Chicago is scheduled to practice Wednesday and Thursday and then have a long weekend off, while Minnesota and Green Bay players won't practice again until Monday. Here on the black and blue blog, we'll keep up as much of our weekly schedule as we can, including a "Have at it" topic later today.
In the meantime, a quick jaunt around the division:
- Chicago offensive coordinator Ron Turner admits he has toyed with the "Wildcat" offense, writes Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times. The obvious candidate for quarterback in that scheme is kick returner/receiver Devin Hester. Garrett Wolfe and Kevin Jones are other candidates.
- Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune thinks people are getting carried away with quarterback Kyle Orton's performance -- but understands why: "This is what happens when a franchise's history at quarterback reads like a Shakespearean tragicomedy. If you have been forced to watch Craig Krenzel, Jonathan Quinn and Chad Hutchinson, then Orton indeed looks like the second coming of Montana, though with a better arm and a better tan."
- Green Bay cornerback Al Harris said he will be "ready to go" when the Packers return from the bye, writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
- Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers plans to be in the stands for his brother Jordan's first start at quarterback for Butte College in Oroville, Calif., on Saturday. Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal has details.
- Minnesota coach Brad Childress is continuing to preach patience with tailback Adrian Peterson, noting several running plays in which Peterson lost yardage Sunday at Soldier Field because he took the run away from the hole. Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune lay out the situation.
- Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press offers five suggestions for improving the Vikings. Among them: "[Players] need to take responsibility for their own mental errors."
- Looking for a bright spot in Detroit? Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press points out that kicker Jason Hanson has made all 17 of his kicks this season, including eight field goals.
- Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky thinks he needs to become more vocal, writes Terry Foster of the Detroit News. "I am not much of a loud or energy guy. And maybe I need to switch that up a little bit, come in ticked off and change the energy level. Maybe that is something I will look into and maybe be the spark plug if I have to. As the quarterback, it is on my shoulders to lead this team and lead this offense, and when we start slowly that points right to me."
This morning, Minnesota Vikings officials are poring over owner Zygi Wilf's first public comments since an 0-2 start led to the benching of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.
I did the same, reviewing Sid Hartman's interview with Wilf in the Star Tribune for any sign that something newsworthy could be on the horizon. But other than admitting the Vikings "blew it" last Sunday against Indianapolis, Wilf kept his comments pretty positive.
The most interesting quote came near the end. (Call it the upright pyramid style of journalism.) Wilf said the Vikings still have a team that can win the NFC North and he placed huge significance on the outcome of Sunday's game against Carolina:
"[T]here is no question in my mind that this team has the capability, has the talent, has the character, has the team that can win the division. There [have been] two tough games [against] two tough teams. I think everyone knows what their responsibility is and how important it is that [Sunday] it's as important a game as we can ever have. I'm very confident they're going to step up and win it."
I don't think we're anywhere close to the "or else" stage. But it will be instructive to watch how the Vikings' ownership group reacts this season after making a considerable financial commitment during the offseason. In fact, Wilf and his investor partners pumped just under $20 million of their own money into the franchise this spring -- known as a "capital call" in business terms -- to provide the cash necessary to acquire defensive end Jared Allen.
Elsewhere in the NFC North this morning:
- Vikings running back Adrian Peterson on his chances of playing against the Panthers with a tight hamstring: "I feel like when Sunday rolls around, I'll be ready to go." We should have more information on Peterson's status later today.
- After initially saying he had torn cartilage in his rib cage, Chicago Bears receiver/kick returner Devin Hester backtracked on the specifics later Thursday. According to the Chicago Tribune, Hester now claims he has only a bruise. We're guessing someone got to him between media sessions. We'll stick with the initial diagnosis.
- Bears receiver Rashied Davis joined the group under consideration to replace Hester as a punt returner Sunday against Tampa Bay. Nathan Vasher and Earl Bennett are also getting long looks, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Safety Daniel Bullocks has been one of the few bright spots on the Detroit Lions' defense. He has returned from a serious knee injury, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com, and doesn't seem to have lost any of his speed. Witness his rundown of Green Bay receiver Greg Jennings after a 60-yard reception last Sunday.
- Lions linebacker Jordon Dizon was sentenced to 24 hours of community service for driving while impaired April 20 in Boulder, Colo. He also must pay $895 in court costs to settle a case the Lions weren't aware of until after making him their second-round draft choice.
- Green Bay cornerback Al Harris has been awfully quiet this week, according to Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal. Harris on his matchup Sunday with the Dallas receiving corps: "This is the best game plan that we've had since I've been here, in this scheme. I honestly think that. And you can quote me on that. After the game, you won't even say anything. You'll just smile and know what I'm talking about."
- Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson is again sitting out the entire week of practice to rest a fractured toe but is expected to play Sunday night against Dallas.