We're Black and Blue All Over:
Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak has produced an expected last-minute push to win an ongoing site battle for the Minnesota Vikings' proposed new stadium, but it's unclear how serious and practical the Minneapolis option can be at this late stage in the game.
Rybak is no doubt backed by some powerful business interests that want the Vikings to remain downtown, but the team rejected his efforts Thursday and said it is committed to its chosen site in suburban Arden Hills. According to the Star Tribune, Rybak made the proposal without an endorsement from the Minneapolis City Council, which must vote to approve any funding mechanism.
In some ways, the Minneapolis proposal will distract from what remains the single biggest obstacle facing the Vikings: Convincing a large number of stadium opponents and tax opponents in the state legislature to approve the project. Thursday, a bipartisan group of state legislators held a news conference to confirm they would prefer relocation of the team over committing taxpayer dollars (or new gambling revenues) to a new stadium.
Said Sen. David Hann: "We don't want them to leave, but if they're going to leave I guess that is going to happen."
As we have discussed many times, stadium politics usually careens into some scary rhetoric. We've now entered that arena.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Former Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian didn't seem to care about his lack of production, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
The Vikings are looking for ways to get the ball to tailback Adrian Peterson in the passing game, notes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The Detroit Lions are hoping for a big showing when tight end Tony Scheffler returns to Denver this weekend, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz on the low-impact start of defensive tackle Nick Fairley's career, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "I think if you take into account him missing all of training camp and missing the first few games of the season, I think we're on a good track with him. When you consider everything that's gone on, obviously we expected more from him, but you can't do anything about injuries and things like that. You just have to regroup and do the best that you can based on those circumstances."
Justin Rogers of Mlive.com looks at the Lions' problems on third down.
Snaps have been few for the Green Bay Packers' four backup tight ends this season, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette examines the season of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The release of Chicago Bears safety Chris Harris puts the focus on rookie Chris Conte, notes Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com: "Pretty much every locker room distrusts management in the NFL, but the Bears have a long history in this regard. Much has been written and discussed about a divide this season. The Harris move did nothing to bridge it."
Bears tailback Matt Forte increased his value, but also his risk, by rejecting the Bears' last offer this summer, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.