NFC North: Aeneas Williams
As it turned out, the man in the middle was longtime NFL defensive back Aeneas Williams, who is now a pastor and a public speaker whom the Vikings invited to speak to their rookies during a scheduled life skills seminar Wednesday.
"I don't know if there is a better example of how to handle the NFL and then life off the field than him," coach Leslie Frazier said.
Frazier has known Williams since the mid-1990's, when Williams was playing for the Arizona Cardinals and Frazier was an intern coach under then Cardinals coach Buddy Ryan.
"We've kept in touch," Frazier said. "... His credibility as a player and then what he's doing now, we thought it would be a plus for our rookies to take them through how to handle life skills."
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- I'll be headed out to Chicago's practice here in a few hours on what is predicted to be a 92-degree day in the greater Bourbonnais-Kankakee area. That's football (practice) weather if I've ever heard of it.
Three-fourths of the NFC North was off Sunday, but one news item caught my eye Monday morning: Green Bay hasn't made any progress on Michael Vick, but it has moved a bit closer in contract negotiations with first-round draft choice B.J. Raji, according to Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. A deal might not be imminent, but Denver's agreement with No. 12 overall pick Knowshon Moreno seems to have had a positive effect on the Raji talks.
The Packers are back on the field at 3 p.m. ET Monday. You would think Raji's deal will be done at some time this week, but we're now entering the territory where his availability for the first preseason game will be in question. The Packers will host Cleveland on Saturday night.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- Detroit practiced in brutal heat Sunday, writes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. It was 93 degrees when practice started and the heat index was 106.
- Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew (thigh) returned to practice after missing a week, notes Monarrez. Safety Daniel Bullocks, meanwhile, traveled to Birmingham, Ala., to have his troublesome knee checked out by Dr. James Andrews.
- Minnesota receiver Bobby Wade clarified his comments regarding Minnesota's quarterback competition, writes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune. Wade seemed to indicate over the weekend that Tarvaris Jackson will win the job, but Sunday he said, "I have no clue" whether Jackson or Sage Rosenfels will be the starter. Sounds like someone got to someone.
- Minnesota center John Sullivan indicates that he's a few inches shorter than what the Vikings have him listed at in this interview with Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald writes he is "more than a little concerned" about the long-term future of Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris.
- The Bears are trying to shape Danieal Manning in the mold of versatile defensive backs Aeneas Williams and Ronde Barber, writes Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.