NFC North: David Doty
Thursday should be another interesting day in Minnesota, where there could be action in two different courthouses pertaining to the NFL's suspension of six players for taking a banned diuretic.
First, there will be some kind of follow-up on the temporary injunction issued to Minnesota defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams in Hennepin County District Court. At this moment, the players can return to the Vikings' practice facility and prepare for Sunday's game at Detroit, but the NFL seems likely to seek an immediate reversal of the injunction from Judge Gary Larson.
Second, the NFL Players Association is expected to file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis to overturn all six suspensions, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported late Wednesday night. One of the judges in that court is David Doty, who has maintained a long-time purview over the league's collective bargaining agreement.
The bottom line is that we're headed toward an unprecedented legal fight to get these six players eligible for Sunday's games. A final answer should come by Friday.
We'll keep you informed and also try to do a better job than we did Wednesday of spreading our coverage to the other teams in this division. Thanks for hanging in with is. This blog will always be a work in progress.
So let's take our morning spin:
- Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune wonders if the latest Vikings drama will motivate owner Zygi Wilf to wash his hands of the franchise and sell.
- Minnesota state law has some unique facets that could aid Kevin Williams and Pat Williams in their legal fight, writes Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy defended his play calling on the goal line late in last Sunday's loss to Carolina, writes Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. McCarthy, who called three consecutive runs before opting for a short field goal, said: "If you go and watch the film and you call my play calling conservative, I wouldn't agree with that. I mean, we pushed the ball down the field. We're not a conservative offense so I don't even know why we're talking about it. The quarterback threw the ball 45 times in the game."
- The Packers plan to use linebacker Brady Poppinga more as a designated pass-rusher, writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
- Chicago defensive tackle Anthony Adams will get a shot to prove he can be a full-time starter over the final four weeks of the season, writes Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald. Adams will be replacing the injured Dusty Dvoracek in the starting lineup.
- David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune doubts that the Bears can win all four of their remaining regular-season games.
- As of Wednesday, the Detroit Lions had about 8,000 tickets remaining for Sunday's game against Minnesota and were facing another local television blackout, according to the Detroit Free Press.
- Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky is close to being ready to play again, but he is out for Sunday, writes David Birkett of the Oakland Press. Daunte Culpepper will start and it's likely Drew Henson will be his backup.