NFC North: Brady Quinn

If you’re the Detroit Lions, tempting the world of fate must not really bother you because, well, you know your history. So sure, look at all of the quarterbacks left in the NFL, all of the quarterbacks available in the draft and there’s only one guy out there where if you brought him back to Detroit, you’d wonder what the heck the Lions were doing.

Dan Orlovsky.

Why wouldn’t the Lions want to bring back one of the few players left in the NFL who can conjure memories of the team’s 0-16 season in 2008 -- when he was the team’s starting quarterback for seven games. Why wouldn’t their new head coach, Jim Caldwell, want to bring in a guy who helped quarterback Indianapolis to a 2-14 record in 2011 -- the season that cost Caldwell his job.

And why not bring in a guy whose last job was in Tampa Bay -- a franchise that spent the first half of last season unable to get out of its own way.

Sure, Orlovsky was only the backup in Tampa and he didn’t have much to do with it, but if you’re the Lions and you’re talking about winning and winning now and how important this is, do you really mess with the karma -- even if you think it is hogwash.

Other than in 2009, when Houston went 9-7, Orlovsky has never been part of a winning team. But he has been a part of some historically bad ones. This is what Detroit will get in its backup quarterback.

Yes, the thought is he’ll never play at all, that Matthew Stafford has been healthy for the past three seasons and that perhaps Kellen Moore ends up beating Orlovsky out for the job anyway. And Orlovsky isn’t a terrible quarterback -- he has completed 58.5 percent of his passes for 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his career -- but it’s not about that with Detroit.

It’s about karma and fate, and why if you’re Detroit would you even want to go tempting any of that? Seriously, man? Seriously. This is a guy who during his last stint in Detroit managed to be chased out of the end zone by Jared Allen for a safety -- and he didn’t even realize it.

Orlovsky likely came as a cheap option, and the team wasn’t going to find a veteran with the experience or skill of the departed Shaun Hill, but there were other options out there. Matt Flynn is still available, although likely nowhere as cheap as Orlovsky will end up being. So is Brady Quinn, if any sort of experience is what you’re looking for.

But to bring in Orlovsky shows an immense amount of confidence in three things for Detroit: In Stafford’s health. In Orlovsky’s ability. And in the ability of the new staff to make history and bad memories a thing of the past.

NFC North weekend mailbag

April, 10, 2010
Be it through the mailbag, Facebook, Twitter or subliminal messages, I'm always interested in your feedback. Believe it or not, I appreciate it when you spur more complete thoughts or point out a hole in my argument. That's where we'll start this weekend.

On with it....

Randal of Cambridge, Minn., writes: Enjoyed your QB story but you are painting too broad of a brush. Who has Minnesota passed over in the draft that it should not have? Even with 20-20 hindsight, there has not been too many. What highly rated QB sat in the green room, while the Vikings drafted another position? Maybe Aaron Rodgers, but at that time Dante Culpepper looked pretty good. The issue is that they have rarely hit bottom. They have been too consistent. This is not the Rams or Lions who are in the top 10 most years.

Kevin Seifert: You make a fair point, Randal, and it's something I wish I had looked at prior to posting. I'm not ready to concede my primary point, but let's first examine exactly what you're talking about.

The chart below shows every first-round quarterback selected after the Vikings' spot over the past 20 years.

The two best quarterbacks on this list are Drew Brees and Rodgers. At both points, there was no indication the Vikings needed a franchise quarterback. Culpepper made the Pro Bowl in 2000, and in 2004 he produced his best-ever season. I can't blame the Vikings for passing over Brees in 2001 and Rodgers in 2005.

And with hindsight, of course, it's hard to find fault with the decisions to draft Adrian Peterson over Brady Quinn in 2007 and Kenechi Udeze over J.P Losman in 2004.

But I think we should tread carefully when considering a linear analysis of the past. Washington, for example, couldn't establish Jason Campbell as its long-term answer at quarterback after selecting him in 2005. But how can we know for sure that Campbell's career would have progressed in the same direction if he were taken by another team?

What if the Vikings had drafted him, for example, and allowed him to spend the past four seasons working with the same offensive coaches rather than experiencing the yearly turnover he had with the Redskins? Perhaps his future would have followed a different path. I'm not saying it would have, but we shouldn't overvalue hindsight in these situations.

And yes, it's true the Vikings weren't always in position to draft an elite quarterback because of their relative success the previous season. But we shouldn't give them a full pass on that. After all, it's within NFL rules to trade up and grab a player you feel strongly about. Denver did that in 2006 and would up with Jay Cutler -- six spots ahead of the Vikings. He was in the Pro Bowl by his third season.

So I guess the crux of my argument remains unchanged. While it's hard to heavily criticize the Vikings for the quarterbacks they have passed over in recent years, they're not blameless. You have to swing the bat -- even if it means trading up or trusting your ability to develop a prospect -- to get a hit. At some point, they're going to have to take the bat off their shoulder.

Via Facebook, Andy passes along a link to former Green Bay receiver Javon Walker's latest trouble and writes: Another move Ted Thompson doesn't get credit for.

Kevin Seifert: Indeed. Walker missed 15 games in 2005 after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament, after which Thompson traded him to Denver for the No. 37 overall pick in the 2006 draft. (Thompson traded that pick away on draft day, but guard Daryn Colledge was the key player he selected with the resulting bundle.)

Although Walker had a 1,000-yard season with the Broncos in 2006, his career has since crashed. He's played in 19 games over the past three seasons and, at age 31, is out of the game. I'm not sure if Thompson foresaw any of Walker's ensuing troubles, but he certainly got a fair price for a player coming off a serious knee injury.

Andy's link gave rise to an interesting idea. Thompson has taken his lumps here and elsewhere, but what other moves should he be getting more credit for? I came up with a couple. Feel free to add or subtract in the comment section accompanying this post.
  • Trading defensive tackle Corey Williams in 2008 for the No. 56 overall pick in that draft. Although the payoff didn't occur -- quarterback Brian Brohm, taken in that spot, was a bust -- Thompson got pretty decent value for a player he essentially replaced a year later with B.J. Raji.
  • Hiring coach Mike McCarthy. There weren't many "hot lists" with McCarthy's name on it after the 2005 season. Thompson spent the time to find a coach who would mesh well with the draft-oriented philosophy he planned to use. In the big picture, McCarthy had made the playoffs twice in four seasons while coaching the league's youngest team. He's been a good fit where few would have predicted it prior to his arrival.

Ian of East Leroy, Mich., finds a logic hole in our discussion about a trade that would send Washington defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to Detroit: With the retirement of Chris Samuels and the acquisition of McNabb from Philadelphia, left tackle seems to be a priority for the Redskins. Acquiring Haynesworth would allow the Lions to draft Russell Okung instead of either Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy. In effect the Redskins would also lose the top left tackle in the draft.

Kevin Seifert: Ian has made a good point: The Redskins essentially could be trading Haynesworth and Okung for Suh or McCoy and (presumably) a later pick in the draft. (That's assuming they don't take the No. 2 pick in exchange for Haynesworth, of course.)

It all would come down to how desperate Shanahan is to get Haynesworth off his team. Does he need to get something in return? Otherwise, he could always release him after the draft.

I guess I wouldn't make Okung the key to a Haynesworth trade. If you can get something in return for him, and still be in position to take Suh or McCoy, I think it might be worth it. But the original point is valid: The deal is more complicated at second glance.

Brian of Chicago writes: Seems the Bears' biggest remaining needs are a "quarterbacking" safety and help on the OL. Dallas just released Ken Hamlin and Flozell Adams. Now, I'm hesitant on Adams mostly because of last year's debacle with Orlando Pace, and Flozell is the same age as OP. But to me Ken Hamlin is a slam dunk. Thoughts?

Kevin Seifert: Agreed on Adams. I'd stay away from him. Hamlin is a bit of a different story. He was a Pro Bowl player as recently as 2007, but since then he has one interception in his last 28 games.

I don't see him as anything more than a short-term answer at a position where the Bears really don't have many viable in-house candidates to start. He's better than what they have, and that's about the best thing I can say about him. It's possible the Bears could find an immediate starter in the draft, but they're not going to get two. I'd give him a hard look.

Ben of Lincoln, Neb., writes: I want to know your feelings about the Lions picking Matthew Stafford last year. What I remember is everyone saying that the next year would have a better QB class, and that the Lions should pick a lineman. Now everyone this year is saying that this years QB class is not that great, and next years will be. Is the QB something that one has to evaluate for the current year, and not plan ahead, or do you still think the Lions should have waited?

Kevin Seifert: No, I think you take too big of a risk trying to project a class from a year out. The Lions considered Stafford the best player in the draft last season. You can argue with their evaluation if you want, but the bottom line is they would have made a mistake to subordinate their own draft board based on a 12-month projection of the upcoming class.

I wonder if those projections were based on Washington's Jake Locker entering this draft. He decided to return to school; ESPN's Mel Kiper said this week that Locker is a near-guaranteed No. 1 overall pick next season. Will he feel that way 11 months from now? It's just an educated guess and nothing more.

Steve of Irvine writes: Do you think Suh is athletic enough to play defensive end on 1st/2nd down...then move inside on 3rd? That's the way the Lions would have used Anthony Hargrove.

Kevin Seifert: Yes, that was the plan for Hargrove had he joined the team via restricted free agency. I can't profess to be an expert on Suh's physical skills, but I've seen occasions where elite players become ordinary contributors when moved to a different position. I'm guessing Suh could play left end if he had to. But the best bet is he will be more dominant at tackle. You want your players in the position where they can maximize their skills and playmaking ability.

Minnesota did the same thing in 2003 with Kevin Williams, a player Suh has been compared to. Williams opened the season as the starting left end, where he was adequate. He moved inside full-time at about midseason and the difference was noticeable. The Vikings haven't tried that arrangement again.
Green Bay tight end/linebacker/special-teams ace Spencer Havner fractured his scapula during a weekend motorcycle accident, his agent confirmed to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Green Bay Press-Gazette. But agent Mark Humenik denied a report that Havner was also charged with driving under the influence in connection with the accident.

Here's Humenik's full statement: "Spencer Havner suffered only minor injuries this weekend in an accident, including a broken scapula, but he should be fully recovered in short order. Despite unfounded media reports to the contrary, he has not been charged criminally with driving under the influence of alcohol or any other substance."

A broken scapula is a minor injury only in the sense that Havner has plenty of time to recover before training camp starts. It often takes up to two months to recover from.

We'll keep you updated.

Continuing around the NFC North:
  • Greg A. Bedard of the Journal Sentinel objects to the Packers' re-signing of right tackle Mark Tauscher. I have also maintained the Packers need to create a succession plan for both tackle positions, but I think they learned a lesson last season about putting too much faith in an untested starter with no safety net.
  • Monday in Detroit included hosting Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung and restricted free agent Anthony Hargrove. The Lions also will be hosting free-agent guard Chester Pitts, who is recovering from microfracture surgery. Tom Kowalski of wraps it all up.
  • New Detroit backup Shaun Hill speaks to Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.
  • Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News on Lions quarterback Drew Stanton: "Some say Stanton never has been given a fair shot with the Lions -- that he never was fully given the reins of the offense to learn and make mistakes without having to look over his shoulder. I say rubbish. Stanton was given every opportunity to earn his playing time in practice and in the preseason. He was simply never impressive enough to secure the starting job. When he did get his chance, because of injury or futility of those in front of him, Stanton never looked completely comfortable on the field and never took advantage of the opportunity."
  • Minnesota hired Matt Sheldon as its assistant defensive backs coach. Sheldon was on Brad Childress' original Vikings staff in 2006 for a few months before leaving to take a better job with Buffalo.
  • Jeff Dickerson of wonders if the Bears will be interested in free-agent quarterback Chris Simms, who Denver released after acquiring Brady Quinn.

Anticipating Packers-Lions

November, 25, 2009
It’s almost time for more football! Exactly 25 hours from the publication of this post, Green Bay and Detroit will square off on Thanksgiving Day for the 18th time. I’ll be positioned at NFC North headquarters to bring you thoughts before, during and after the game.

As you’re cleaning the bird this afternoon, take a few minutes to anticipate a few talking points for this game:
  • The Lions have sold out Ford Field for this game and their fan base is energized after quarterback Matthew Stafford’s heroics in Sunday’s victory over Cleveland. Fans also enjoyed a breakout game from receiver Calvin Johnson, who set a career high with 161 receiving yards. Unfortunately for everyone (except the Packers), Johnson’s status is very iffy because of knee and hand injuries. Stafford will start despite being listed as "doubtful" with a left shoulder injury, the Detroit Free Press reported.
  • Fans could miss out on a potential encore performance, and the Lions could wind up playing both of this season’s games against the Packers without their two best players. (Stafford and Johnson missed the Oct. 18 matchup at Lambeau Field, a 26-0 Packers victory.)
  • The Packers have tweaked their offensive approach in the past two weeks, but it’s hard to get past the mismatch their passing offense presents for the Lions' defense. After all, this is a group that gave up four touchdown passes to Cleveland quarterback Brady Quinn. The Lions' pass defense has gotten worse as the season has continued, and here are the numbers as of Week 12: Opponents have a 70.4 completion percentage, a 24-6 touchdown-interception ratio and a 110.3 passer rating. And here’s a new twist: Two of the Lions’ top three safeties, Ko Simpson and Kalvin Pearson, haven’t practiced this week because of injuries. If he wants to, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers could have an early Thanksgiving feast in this game.
  • The Packers have faced their share of injuries as well in this short practice week. As of Wednesday morning, they’re not sure if center Scott Wells (knee) will be able to play. [Update: Wells is expected to play.] That could force rookie Evan Dietrich-Smith into the starting lineup. And as has been mentioned once or twice, the Packers will have two new starters on defense after losing linebacker Aaron Kampman and cornerback Al Harris to knee injuries. Thursday will mark a transition game for the entire Packers defense.
  • A few people have mentioned the Lions’ 11-6-1 record against the Packers on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit. Let’s not put too much stock in that mark. Recently, the series has been all Packers. Coach Mike McCarthy has never lost to the Lions in seven games, and overall the Packers have an eight-game winning streak against them. In the bigger picture, the Packers have won 16 of the past 18 in this series. In this decade, the Lions are 2-7 on Thanksgiving Day.

Third and one: Lions

November, 23, 2009
After Detroit’s 38-37 victory over Cleveland, here are three (mostly) indisputable facts I feel relatively sure about:
  1. I feel bad for Lions fans who helped sell out Thursday’s Thanksgiving game against Green Bay. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which they’ll be able to greet their newest hero. I’m not sure how forthcoming the team will be about quarterback Matthew Stafford’s left shoulder, but it would be a minor miracle if he can make a start in three days. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King wrote here about Stafford being fit for a harness and sling after the game. Stafford doesn’t need the left shoulder to throw, but he does need it to take snaps and won’t have the advantage of adrenaline to overcome the pain he would incur the first time he took a hit.
  2. I’m willing to acknowledge that rookie tight end Brandon Pettigrew is a better receiver than I originally gave him credit for. His 29 receptions lead all rookie tight ends, and he’s got some ball skills that help him in traffic. With receiver Calvin Johnson sidelined on the game’s final play Sunday, I agree that Pettigrew was Stafford’s best option. With all that said, I’m still not convinced that a team so bereft of talented linemen had the luxury of taking a tight end with the No. 20 overall pick. But to this point, the Lions are getting a pretty decent return from the decision.
  3. Stafford’s late-game heroics masked what would have been the most embarrassing performance yet by the Lions’ horrid pass defense. Cleveland quarterback Brady Quinn threw four touchdown passes, one shy of the total number of offensive touchdowns the Browns had scored in their previous 15 games combined. Overall, Quinn completed 64 percent of his passes and had a 133.1 passer rating. I shudder to think what kind of numbers Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers will put up against the Lions on Thursday.

And here is one question I’m still asking:
Should Kevin Smith be a bigger part of the Lions’ passing game? His 25-yard touchdown reception required a mid-air adjustment and showcased excellent hands and ball skills. It’s one thing to have a running back who can catch a checkdown or screen pass. It’s quite another if the player can split the seam, make an adjustment and score. That sequence should open some eyes around the NFL.

Posted by’s Kevin Seifert

Monday, we noted the potential for a mismatch between Chicago’s injury-plagued pass defense and Green Bay’s locked-in passing game. ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson has some perspective on who might play where for the Bears, and let’s just say it won’t allay any fears.

Cornerback Charles Tillman gave himself a “50-50” chance of playing against the Packers after sitting out the summer while recovering from back surgery. I’m guessing that’s just a veteran playing coy, but it does serve as a reminder about where Tillman probably stands as far as conditioning and rustiness.

Dickerson also indicates that Kevin Payne and rookie Al Afalava are likely to be the starting safeties, with Danieal Manning (hamstring) playing in the nickel. Zack Bowman could start opposite Tillman at cornerback, joining Afalava in making his first NFL start.

The Bears’ unofficial depth chart lists Nate Vasher and Trumaine McBride as the starting cornerbacks. If that happens, writes Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald, the Bears will lose by four touchdowns.

We’ll monitor the situation throughout the week. For now, let’s take a morning spin around the NFC North:
  • Bears tight end Desmond Clark is unhappy with the condition of the grass at Soldier Field, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel interprets the words of Packers coach Mike McCarthy to mean linebacker Nick Barnett (knee) will start Sunday night against the Bears.
  • Backup quarterback Matt Flynn (shoulder) resumed throwing Monday and said he will be ready to play, if needed, Sunday night, writes Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
  • Matthew Stafford’s unflappable nature is one reason why he was named Detroit’s starting quarterback, writes Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News on the Stafford decision: “I can't shriek that the Lions perpetrated a horrible injustice and Daunte Culpepper would have sprung the upset in the opener at New Orleans. But I wouldn't have done this, and it has nothing to do with Stafford's talent (immense) or his readiness (debatable). The Lions need one measly victory in a bad, bad way, and the experienced Culpepper gives them a better chance, period.”
  • Minnesota coach Brad Childress won’t say whether Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels will be the No. 2 quarterback Sunday at Cleveland, writes Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.
  • The Vikings don’t know whether they’ll be facing Browns quarterback Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson, notes my AFC North colleague James Walker.

No theatrics for Hawk-Quinn II

August, 15, 2009
Posted by's Kevin Seifert

Entering Saturday night's preseason opener against Cleveland, A.J. Hawk felt comfortable making two promises:

  1. His wife, Laura, will keep a low profile.
  2. He won't punch Laura's brother, Browns quarterback Brady Quinn. At least not after a play.

Otherwise, it's business as usual in the first Hawk/Quinn matchup since the infamous 2006 Fiesta Bowl between Ohio State and Notre Dame. In that game, television cameras repeatedly showed Laura sporting a stitched jersey that featured Hawk's Buckeye colors on one side and Quinn's Fighting Irish on the other.

Asked if Laura would be wearing a Packers/Browns jersey Saturday night, Hawk laughed and said: "No. She regrets that decision she made. She had no idea she was going to be shown on TV. You live and you learn. She just wants both of us to get out of the game not hurt."

Cleveland hasn't announced whether Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson will start, so it's possible that Quinn and Hawk won't cross paths on the field. But if they do, Hawk said, it won't be a special occasion.

"We both have jobs to do and I think we realize that," Hawk said. "I say all the time to Laura, 'I'm not going to do anything extra. I'm not going to punch him after the play.' But I'm not going to let up before the whistle, though."

Despite that family rivalry, I think everyone can agree that the Packers' defense will be their most newsworthy nugget Saturday night. How smooth will it look this early in the preseason?

While we're on it, here is the top question I have for the other two NFC North teams that play Saturday night:

  • Chicago has so many injuries on defense that it will be difficult to evaluate progress at Buffalo. So I'll be looking to see where new quarterback Jay Cutler focuses in the passing game. His two favorite receivers in training camp have been Greg Olsen and Earl Bennett. Will that continue in a game situation?
  • In Detroit, all eyes will be on quarterbacks Daunte Culpepper and Matthew Stafford. What kind of presence will Stafford bring with him when he enters the game in the second quarter? Will he be nervous? Cool? Aggressive? Let's see how the kid reacts.

Weekend Mailbag

March, 28, 2009
Posted by's Kevin Seifert

Lots of issues to delve into after a week at the NFL owners' meeting. Let's get right to it.

Talha of St. Paul writes: Hey Kevin, I am a Packers fan and this may surprise you because I live in Minnesota. I just wanted to get your thoughts on the signing of Duke Preston. How would you rate hi, as a player and also do you see him starting for the Pack this year? Thanks.

Kevin Seifert: Actually, there are so many Packers fans in Minnesota it's really amazing. No surprise to me at all. Anyway, I think Preston is a borderline starter/backup who won't embarrass you if he gets into the game. I doubt the Packers are planning to pencil him in as a starter on the first day of training camp. He provides depth at all three positions and could play anywhere if needed.

Brandon of Huntington Beach, Calif., writes: What are you thoughts on the offensive lineman "trade" the Bears made with the Browns? Did the Bears get the better deal with that or was it basically a wash? Also, do you think this changes the draft strategy back to a receiver in the first round?

Kevin Seifert: My biggest reaction is that it's always interesting how NFL teams sometimes value other teams' players more than their own. The Bears had John St. Clair for four years and have a pretty good sense for what kind of player he is. They made a financial offer to him in accordance with that evaluation, but the Browns doubled it. I'd trust the Bears' evaluation over the Browns' in this one. Unfortunately for Chicago, it leaves them with a player the Browns didn't want to continue with. The Bears' contract for Kevin Shaffer was a bit lower in value than St. Clair's. It's basically a wash, but at least the Bears paid a slightly lower figure. And I don't think this changes the Bears' need for a long-term answer at right tackle. St. Clair and Shaffer are both journeymen and short-term answers.

Ben of Iowa City writes: What do you think about the Packers taking Andre Smith at the 9th spot? They desperately need an OT, and Smith was a monster 3 straight years at Alabama. I'm willing to forgive his combine mishap. Is Ted Thompson? In my opinion, the Packers have to take him, do you agree?

Kevin Seifert: I think that's going to be one of the NFC North's questions as we head down the home stretch before the draft. The Packers' short- and long-term needs at tackle have been well-documented, with Chad Clifton seemingly nearing the end of his career and Mark Tauscher's left knee a question mark. I'm sure Thompson would like to add a big-time pass-rusher for the 3-4 defense, but everyone agrees Smith is immensely talented. If all things were equal, he'd be off the board by No. 9. I know there are concerns about his departure from the combine, but to me the biggest concern is that he was still in pretty average shape for his pro day. The Packers have a really, really difficult decision to make here.

Gerald of Jennings, La., writes: Hey Kevin, I'm not a big Lions fan, but I love to see a team that's been down succeed the following season. My concern is that everyone seems focus on the Lions taking Matthew Stafford, but I think with there position it would be a huge mistake picking a quarterback with their first pick. Its pretty obvious that after going winless they have a lot of areas to work on, but with Daunte Culpepper as quarterback it seems they have something to work with in that position for now. I believe the Lions should take the safe course like the Dolphins did last year and maybe draft an OT like Jason Smith or any other OT or maybe an LB like Aaron Curry. And with their other pick in the first pick maybe Sanchez or some OT or LB will also be available, but I'm not sure using the first pick on Stafford is a good idea. What is your take on this?

Kevin Seifert: I am still in the camp that the Lions are best off solidifying their line and other positions unless their scouts believe Stafford is a once-in-a-generation prospect. He's definitely the top quarterback in the draft, but that doesn't necessarily make him the best player overall. You also have to wonder how Stafford would develop on a team that has so many other issues from a personnel standpoint. I reserve the right to change my mind, but that's where I'm coming from now.

K. of Wisconsin writes: TE Tony Gonzalez has said that he wants out of KC. Last year he showed interest to the Packers but the organization was unwilling to give up a 2nd or 3rd rd draft pick. Should the Packers try to go at it again to try to compensate something from FA or do you think they will do well with Finley and Lee at those positions?

Kevin Seifert: To this point, we've heard nothing to suggest the Packers still have interest in Gonzalez, but the Chiefs have also said they have no plans to trade him. I think they have high hopes for Jermichael Finley at the position, even though he seemed pretty immature last year. I don't know that you make a decision on Gonzalez one way or the other because of Finley, but I don't sense the Packers consider it a primary goal right now.

Marc of Minneapolis writes: A lot of discussions are had regarding a draftee's Wonderlic test scores before and after the draft. My question is, do teams ever get players' high school and college transcripts? It seems as though finding out a prospect's class load and grades would help just as much, if not more than any other measure as to whether or not they have the ability to learn complex offensive and defensive schemes in the NFL. Thanks!

Kevin Seifert: I suppose the transcripts are available if needed. But I don't know if I'd want to base any judgments on an athlete's class load. Who knows what goes into picking the classes a player takes? To me, it's better just to judge the results of that education. You can debate whether the Wonderlic is the best way to determine that, but I like it better than a transcript review.

Wisconsin writes: Will the Vikings sign Antoine Winfield to a longer contract? I know he is going to be 32. He is still very productive.

Kevin Seifert: They're definitely working on it. It might not be imminent, but I think it's pretty likely something will happen before the regular season begins.

Steven writes: If the packers sign Duke Preston at 326 lbs, do you think that signals a move away from their mediocre version of the zone blocking scheme?

Kevin Seifert: Well, they did sign Preston after you sent this note. But I don't think it necessarily means they'll stop using the zone-blocking scheme. Mike McCarthy has talked about wanting to get bigger on the offensive line, but there are plenty of teams that zone block with bigger guys. It's not mandatory at all to be undersized when it comes to zone blocking. That's just the way Denver did it.

Dale of San Clemente writes: Why don't the Vikings trade up and draft Mark Sanchez or trade for either Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson?

Kevin Seifert: For the same reason they haven't tried to get anyone else of that magnitude: Brad Childress has strong faith that Tarvaris Jackson will develop into their long-term starter.

Shawn writes: Great blog. I read your post about the Vikings stadium problem and the L.A. stadium push to maybe get the Vikes there. My question is how the fan base of our rivals in the NFC North might feel about the Vikings moving? As a Viking fan I hate the Packers and the Bears but look forward twice a year to play them. I couldn't see anyone else in the north.

Kevin Seifert: It would definitely take some getting used to. I saw one bit of speculation that the Vikings and St. Louis could switch divisions if Minnesota lost its team. I wonder whether Bears, Packers and Lions fans would want to see the Rams twice a year.

Kevin of Marshfield writes: Why are the Packers dragging their feet on signing Greg Jennings & now Nick Collins to contracts? Aaron Kampman's is coming up too. Are the Packers going to pull a Brewers and not pay there players there dew and just keep on signing cheep ones now? I am huge Packer fan but hate how the front office does their business sometimes.

Kevin Seifert: I don't think we've reached dragging-their-feet-status yet. This is the time of year when negotiations typically begin. As long as it happens before the season starts, there usually isn't much acrimony. In Collins' case, I think it's more about the Packers showing no interest in even starting talks. That will eventually subside. He knows that the longer he keeps playing well, the more his price will go up.

Noah of St. Paul writes: Why are the Vikings so reluctant to sign or retain a pro bowl caliber fullback? Although Adrian Peterson may prefer to run without a lead blocker, few would argue that the loss of Tony Richardson wasn't a significant blow to the Vikes' ground game in 2008. Now, faced with a mere $350k premium on Leonard Weaver over resigning the mediocre Naufahu Tahi, they balk again. What gives?

Kevin Seifert: I don't think they balked at Weaver's price. From what I understand, it was the other way around. Weaver didn't want to play for them.