NFC North: Heath Farwell

We discussed cornerback Antoine Winfield's likely contract agreement earlier this week, and I don't have too much to add now that he has told ESPN's Josina Anderson that the deal is complete. A few final thoughts:
  • No surprise: Frankly, I would have been surprised if Winfield had returned to the Minnesota Vikings. Players who are released for financial reasons, as Winfield was last month, usually take another option if it presents itself. Pride plays a role, as does the energy of a fresh start. The Vikings wanted Winfield to take a reduced role at a reduced salary. That's a sobering request. Winfield might have felt more comfortable doing so when the starters ahead of him were the best cornerback duo in the league, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, rather than whoever wins the starting jobs for the Vikings. (Chris Cook and Josh Robinson are the early favorites.)
  • Timing: Winfield is approaching his 36th birthday, but some of you are asking via Twitter why the Vikings were so intent on reducing his role after he played 16 games as a full-time player last season. The truth is that they wanted to do it in 2012 before injuries, and Winfield's maintained health, forced them to drop that plan. Most long-term thinkers would tell you it's better to be a little early on a player's descent than too late.
  • Money matters: The Vikings couldn't proceed into free agency with Winfield's $7.25 million cap number. (Indeed, they are less than $4 million under the cap now.) But reports at the time of his release suggested there were no substantive discussions about a pay cut, an indication the team had decided to move on. So why, then, the aggressive post-release pursuit? If the Vikings wanted Winfield back, as coach Leslie Frazier has said repeatedly, why wouldn't they try harder when they had exclusivity with him? It's puzzling and suggests there are some holes in this narrative that have not been answered.
  • Legacy: Winfield should go down as arguably the best free-agent signing in Vikings history. Few remember that he nearly signed with the New York Jets in 2004 before then-coach Mike Tice sent the private plane of a friend to whisk him away from negotiations. Winfield was a fearless tackler, a hard worker in coverage and a veteran who managed to lead players in the locker room while also challenging authority when necessary. He will be difficult to replace.
  • Minnesota West: For those asking, Winfield gives the Seattle Seahawks four former Vikings players on their roster. The others include special teams ace Heath Farwell, receiver Sidney Rice and receiver Percy Harvin. Former Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is in the same role with the Seahawks as well.
  • Moving forward: Cook and Robinson would seem to sit atop the offseason depth chart at the moment. Cornerback A.J. Jefferson signed his restricted free agent tender Friday, and it's safe to assume the Vikings will look for additional depth via the draft.

Minnesota Vikings cutdown analysis

September, 3, 2011
9/03/11
6:23
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Check here for a complete list of the Minnesota Vikings' roster moves.

Surprise move: Either the Vikings have confidence in a number of unproven offensive linemen or they have their sights on some veteran acquisitions later this weekend. They released guard/tackles Chris DeGeare and Ryan Cook, both of whom saw substantial action at right guard during the injury rehabilitation of starter Anthony Herrera. This version of their 53-man roster features three centers and a total of 10 offensive linemen. The group includes two rookies (DeMarcus Love and Brandon Fusco) and one first-year player in Patrick Brown. The Vikings' arrangement here remains under construction, as far as I’m concerned.

No-brainers: Undrafted tight end Allen Reisner was one of the big surprises of camp. He not only pushed veteran Jeff Dugan off the roster but also forced the Vikings to keep four tight ends on their roster. I wondered whether the Vikings would release safety Tyrell Johnson, who has struggled to maintain his starting job in the face of a modest challenge from Jamarca Sanford. In the end, the Vikings didn’t have enough in-house experience to make that move. But watch out down the road for rookie Mistral Raymond, who forced his way onto the initial 53-man roster and is clearly respected by coaches.

What’s next: You would think the Vikings would be on the lookout for two areas in particular: Linebackers and running backs. The decision to release veteran Heath Farwell left them with five linebackers, only two of whom have starting experience. The current backups are special-teams ace Kenny Onatolu and undrafted rookie Larry Dean. With new starter Erin Henderson still establishing himself, you wonder if that is enough depth. Meanwhile, the Vikings kept only three tailbacks (and no fullbacks). Both of Adrian Peterson's backups, Toby Gerhart and Lorenzo Booker, were dealing with injuries as recently as last week. Depth is definitely an issue and could be addressed in the next 24-48 hours.
Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier spent four seasons with the team as a defensive coordinator and has holdover assistants sprinkled throughout his coaching staff. It is now clear, however, that Frazier's promotion in no way ensured continuity within the Vikings roster.

Frazier released left tackle Bryant McKinnie at the start of training camp, and news is beginning to trickle out about the departures of some other stalwarts of the Brad Childress era. Linebacker/special teams ace Heath Farwell confirmed to multiple media outlets, including 1500ESPN.com, that he has been released. Meanwhile, agent Ralph Cindrich tweeted that tight end/fullback Jeff Dugan will be a free agent as of this evening, implying he will be released.

Dugan confirmed the move to Mark Craig of the Star Tribune.

Reserves throughout their careers, Dugan and Farwell were nevertheless among the Vikings' most tenured players. Dugan was a 7th-round draft choice in 2004 and Farwell joined the team as an undrafted rookie in 2005. Only two players, tight end Jim Kleinsasser and linebacker E.J. Henderson, have been with the Vikings longer than Dugan, and both he and Farwell were the kind of easy-going glue players that Childress and former coach Mike Tice wanted in the locker room.

That's not a knock on Frazier and his staff for moving on. It's difficult to develop young talent if you keep veterans as backups. Schemes change, players age and circumstances transform. Dugan and Farwell are dependable, of high character and unfortunately for them, they are replaceable.

If there was any question, it's now clear that Frazier will be blazing his own trail despite his relatively deep roots within the organization.

Previewing preseason Week 3

August, 26, 2011
8/26/11
12:00
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In which we look ahead to NFC North preseason football over the next two days.

Green Bay Packers
Opponent:
Indianapolis Colts
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium
Day/Time: Friday/8 p.m. ET
Personnel notes: Coach Mike McCarthy estimated that starters will play midway through the second quarter. Although they could see extra time, it's not expected that McCarthy will bring them out for the third quarter. ... Receiver/returner Randall Cobb (knees) and defensive end Mike Neal (knee) aren't expected to play. Receiver Greg Jennings (knee) could join them on the sideline. Running back James Starks (ankle) and linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) should return from a week off.
Focal point: I'm curious to track how the Packers' offense performs when it is not in the no-huddle. That alignment has given them most of their success in the preseason, but I'm assuming they won't be running it every play during the regular season. From a competition standpoint, it's worth keeping a close eye on how tailback Ryan Grant performs and if Starks picks up where he left off before the ankle injury. Could Starks lay claim to the starting job with a strong showing?

Chicago Bears
Opponent:
Tennessee Titans
Location: LP Field
Day/Time: Saturday/8 p.m. ET
Personnel notes: Most starters will play at least a half. ... Receiver Sam Hurd (ankle), linebacker Lance Briggs (knee) and defensive tackle Anthony Adams (calf) have been ruled out. Tight end Kellen Davis (back) could miss the game, while cornerback Zack Bowman (concussion) appears likely to resume playing.
Focal point: The Bears' current offensive line configuration could lock itself into a Week 1 assignment with a solid outing that builds off last week's performance against the New York Giants. On the other hand, receiver Roy Williams needs to make a few catches in order to assure the Bears he is worthy of the starting job they handed him in training camp. Like most NFL teams, the Bears would like to see their offense produce a few touchdown drives before the preseason is over. Finally, I would like to see the Bears' defensive line rotation start shaking itself out. It's not clear at this point if they have a legitimate backup defensive end or if any of their two reclamation projects, Vernon Gholston and Amobi Okoye, will provide any help.

Detroit Lions
Opponent:
New England Patriots
Location: Ford Field
Day/Time: Saturday/8 p.m. ET
Personnel notes: Starters will play around half of the game... Running back Jahvid Best (concussion) and Maurice Morris (hand) aren't expected to play, so the Lions are likely to start Jerome Harrison. Mike Bell, Aaron Brown and Stefan Logan will be available to rotate in. Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch (shoulder) is a strong candidate to sit out as well.
Focal point: The Lions' uncertain depth at running back will be on full display. By the end of the night, we should have an idea if they have someone capable of carrying a significant load while sharing the job with Best. On the other hand, fans might get their first look at rookie receiver Titus Young. Meanwhile, the countdown continues for the first preseason hit on quarterback Matthew Stafford. He told reporters this week: "You guys can ask all you want. I don't think about it. I just play football and whatever happens, happens."

Minnesota Vikings
Opponent:
Dallas Cowboys
Location:
Metrodome
Day/Time: Saturday/8 p.m. ET
Personnel notes: Some starters are expected to play into the third quarter. ... The Vikings have a long injury list. Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring), linebacker Heath Farwell (hamstring), linebacker Jasper Brinkley (hip), tailback Toby Gerhart (ankle), defensive tackle Kevin Williams (foot) and cornerback Asher Allen (toe) are among those who won't play.
Focal point: The Vikings' first-team offense has produced three points this preseason and isn't likely to be on the field much in the preseason finale. So Saturday night is their best and last chance to build some momentum for the regular season. The offense hasn't appeared disorganized or confused. It just hasn't had much punch yet and its personality is far from defined. It would also be helpful if rookie Christian Ponder can establish himself as the No. 2 quarterback so the Vikings can free up Joe Webb to focus on the Wildcat and other unique packages.
We're Black and Blue All Over:

The pending prison release of former NFL receiver Plaxico Burress will no doubt generate substantial speculation about where he might seek to play in 2011. Already, players on several teams have made public pitches. And I'm sure that in an NFC North context, we'll hear plenty of Chicago Bears speculation.

Will it be merited?

Here's all we know so far: Bears coach Lovie Smith has said he wouldn't mind acquiring a bigger receiver to join the trio of Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett and Devin Hester. Burress is 6-foot-5.

But would the Bears want the baggage Burress brings, not to mention the rust from two years of inactivity? Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune doesn't think so.
Pompei: "Burress has three things working against him. The first is he will be 34 when the season starts. The second is he has not played football, or even trained with a football team, for two full years. The third is he has a history of getting in trouble. I don't think the Bears are that desperate."

I tend to agree. We've spent plenty of time discussing receivers and the Bears, but I'm not sure Burress and the Bears will be a fit.

Continuing around the NFC North:
  • Bears rookie Gabe Carimi is making an impact on Chicago's Jewish community, writes Donald Liebenson of the Tribune.
  • The Detroit Lions' unwillingness to participate in "Hard Knocks" indicates they aren't sure how good they will be in 2011, writes Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Lions receiver Calvin Johnson hopes he will have fresher legs during games after the team drafted rookie receiver Titus Young. Dave Birkett of the Free Press has more.
  • Check out this Twitpic of Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in London's Trafalgar Square. Suh is participating in the Gumball 3000 road race.
  • The Green Bay Packers have scheduled their annual shareholders meeting for July 28, according to Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
  • Packers linebacker Clay Matthews charmed the crowd at the Rochester Press-Radio Club's Day of Champions banquet. Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle has more. Among Matthews' lines: "For all you guys out there, I'll be in each and every one of your showers," referring to his upcoming line of Suave shampoo.
  • A group of Minnesota Vikings are working out in the Twin Cities at a local fitness club, writes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune. The group includes: linebacker Heath Farwell, offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson, linebackers Ben Leber and Chad Greenway, center John Sullivan and tight end Jim Kleinsasser.
  • Receiver Hank Baskett and several Vikings teammates from 2010 participated in a charity event last weekend to benefit victims of child abuse, according to Lynn Hoppes of ESPN.com.

Vikings take lead, lose two starters

November, 21, 2010
11/21/10
1:34
PM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings have taken a 3-0 lead over the Green Bay Packers here at the Metrodome, but it has come at a price.

With the first quarter in the books, the Vikings have already lost right guard Anthony Herrera to a knee injury and linebacker Chad Greenway with what appears to have been a poke in the eye. Herrera has been replaced by Ryan Cook, and his return is doubtful.

Greenway, the Vikings' leading tackler, is standing on the sideline without a helmet. He's holding an ice pack on his right eye. We'll see if he returns. Heath Farwell has been playing in his spot, while Ben Leber is taking his spot in the nickel.

Meanwhile, Packers safety Anthony Smith has been carted into the locker room with an ankle injury.

UPDATE: Greenway has returned to the game after sitting out for part of the first quarter.
MIAMI -- During our NFL Nation Live chat Sunday night, colleague John Clayton reported Chicago officials were huddling to decide between Mike Martz and Kevin Rogers as their next offensive coordinator. Unless both candidates are eliminated, an unlikely scenario, we should be nearing resolution on this issue.

Martz traveled to Nashville, Tenn., Saturday to meet with quarterback Jay Cutler. David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune termed that trip “ridiculously awkward” because it suggested Cutler was in position to pass judgment on Martz rather than the other way around. In some ways, however, Martz needs to demonstrate his willingness to be a team player as much as Cutler does.

Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times reports there could be some disagreement in the Bears' hierarchy over this job. Ultimately, however, coach Lovie Smith should get the final decision. It’s his coaching staff, and the on-field product is his responsibility.

Continuing around the NFC North as we ramp up Super Bowl hype week:

  • Minnesota special teams star Heath Farwell played extensively at linebacker Sunday night in the Pro Bowl, notes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune.
  • Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie offered a conciliatory statement Saturday night about his dismissal from the Pro Bowl, but he was defiant Sunday night -- and Monday morning -- on his Twitter page. McKinnie wrote: “What I realize is ppl like negative that's what sells @ the end of the day!” Also: “HATERS MAKE ME STRONGER SO THANX 4 THE FAVOR! I DON'T BREAK SUCKAS!”
  • Detroit general manger Martin Mayhew is excited about the class of more than 50 juniors who declared themselves eligible for the draft, according to Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has learned to deal with the Brett Favre questions, writes Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Pro Bowl Watch: Clay Matthews

January, 26, 2010
1/26/10
1:00
PM ET
Pro Bowl Watch: AFC East | West | North | South  NFC East | West | North | South

We all know Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews III comes from a deep lineage of football success. His father, Clay Jr., was a 19-year linebacker in the NFL. His uncle, Bruce Matthews, also played 19 seasons as an offensive lineman and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Rob Grabowski/US PresswireGreen Bay linebacker Clay Matthews added to his family's NFL history by making the Pro Bowl as a rookie.



But only one member of that trio managed a Pro Bowl berth as a rookie. Clay III was originally a first alternate and received an invitation to play after Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs bowed out.

“It means a great deal,” Matthews said in a national conference call this week. “I’m very happy, fortunate and blessed to have made it in my rookie season. My dad and uncle were telling me, ‘Man, it took me four and six years to make it, and you're already making it in your first year.’ I definitely have big shoes to fill, but I'm looking forward to the opportunity and I think I'm off to a good start.”

Indeed, Matthews set a Packers rookie record with 10 sacks this season after cracking the starting lineup in Week 4. His father played in a different era, including five seasons before sacks became an official NFL statistic, but it’s worth noting that Clay Jr. only hit double digits in sacks for one season (12 in 1984). (For more, see Mike Spofford's piece over on Packers.com.)

“It’s really about staying on top,” Clay III said, “and that’s what I look forward to doing -- just keeping it up and just trying to make plays from here on out.”

Matthews will play a reserve role for the NFC in Sunday’s game at Sun Life Stadium. I’ll be there to chronicle his afternoon, along with that of the other 11 NFC North players expected to participate. Because of the recent rash of changes to the Pro Bowl roster, below is a list of NFC North players. As always, we’re here to serve. Update: This list is now nine players.

Chicago Bears
Kick returner Johnny Knox

Green Bay Packers
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers
Safety Nick Collins
Linebacker Clay Matthews

Minnesota Vikings
Running back Adrian Peterson
Wide receiver Sidney Rice
Left guard Steve Hutchinson
Left tackle Bryant McKinnie
Defensive end Jared Allen
Defensive tackle Kevin Williams
Special teams cover man Heath Farwell

Update: Rice and Williams declined their invitations Tuesday.

NFC North Pro Bowl analysis

December, 29, 2009
12/29/09
7:44
PM ET
NFC Pro Bowl: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Perfect sense: It’s only fitting that quarterbacks Brett Favre (Minnesota) and Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay) are paired once again on the same team. We all know about last season’s bitter transition in Green Bay. But the fact is the two battled for NFL statistical supremacy for most of this season. Likewise, Packers cornerback Charles Woodson has arguably been the best defensive player in the league this season.

Vikings defensive end Jared Allen ranks first in the NFC with 13.5 sacks, even if only one of have them have come in the past four games. Minnesota defensive tackle Kevin Williams has had a solid season with six sacks, tying him for first among NFC defensive tackles.

Made it on rep: Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs leads the Bears with 135 tackles but had an injury-slowed season while playing for a defense that took a nosedive this season. Word circulated early this that Minnesota left tackle Bryant McKinnie was having his best season, and that propelled him to the Pro Bowl despite some weak performances on national television over the past month. Vikings special teams ace Heath Farwell has had better years than this one, but he’s the best-known cover man for a group that has been one of the NFL’s best this season.

Got robbed: Packers linebacker Clay Matthews has 10 sacks and has been a better all-around player than Washington defensive end Brian Orakpo, who has 11 sacks and made the team. Matthews is a first alternate. Minnesota’s Percy Harvin led the league in kickoff returns for most of the season and had two touchdowns, but he lost out to Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson. Green Bay running back Ryan Grant has more yards (1,202) and touchdowns (10) than Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams (1,117 and seven).

Initial thoughts on Henderson injury

December, 6, 2009
12/06/09
11:54
PM ET
It’s hard to imagine that Minnesota won’t lose middle linebacker E.J. Henderson for the season after he suffered a gruesome injury to his left leg Sunday night in the Vikings’ 30-17 loss at Arizona. A few thoughts if that’s indeed the case:
  • The Vikings made it for most of 12 games last season without Henderson, who suffered a pair of dislocated toes on Sept. 28, 2008. In that instance, they covered themselves by re-signing former starter Napoleon Harris. That’s probably not an option at this point. But importantly, the Vikings were able to scheme some of their calls away from the middle linebacker position to compensate.
  • One way the Vikings did that was by having strong-side linebacker Ben Leber make the defensive calls. Leber has become a part-time player this season as the Vikings have emphasized their nickel package, but they could re-engineer their scheme to get him on the field more or slide him into the middle linebacker spot.
  • Sunday night, rookie Jasper Brinkley replaced Henderson. But the Vikings have some other options. One is special teams ace Heath Farwell, a fifth-year player who is much smaller than Brinkley but has more experience.

Henderson was not the only defensive starter the Vikings lost Sunday night. Cornerback Cedric Griffin (head) and safety Tyrell Johnson (uncertain) also left the game in the second half. On the Cardinals’ final drive, in fact, the Vikings had three rookies on the field: Brinkley, cornerback Asher Allen and safety Jamarca Sanford.

We’ll get you updates as soon as we can.

The Pro Bowl drama begins

November, 17, 2009
11/17/09
5:30
PM ET
I started making a comprehensive list of every NFC North player who ranks in the top five of his position voting for the NFC Pro Bowl team, which is now underway. But then I realized some jokester must be stuffing the ballot on us: I counted 22 Minnesota players among the top five in their various positions. I won’t name any names, but let’s just say some players are more deserving of others.

So here are some highlights of the fan voting, which ultimately represents a third of the total voting for this team:
What does all this mean? Not a whole lot as we stand here in Week 11. I’m not going to make this a weekly feature, but this at least gives us a jumping-off start for discussion next month.

Friday injury report / Update

September, 25, 2009
9/25/09
4:52
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert


Making sense of the Friday injury report:

Chicago Bears: Defensive end Alex Brown (ankle) returned to practice Friday and is listed as questionable on the injury report. But it’s fully expected he’ll play Sunday at Seattle. On the other hand, the Bears are unlikely to face Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. He’s doubtful because of a rib injury, meaning Seneca Wallace is likely to start for the Seahawks.

Detroit Lions: Defensive end Cliff Avril (hamstring), cornerback Eric King (shoulder) and linebacker Ernie Sims (shoulder) are not expected to play Sunday against Washington. Cornerback Phillip Buchanon (neck) has been limited in practice and is questionable but seems more likely than not to play. Defensive tackle Grady Jackson (knee) is probable and will play.

Green Bay Packers: Rookie defensive lineman B.J. Raji tweaked his ankle Thursday in practice and is questionable for Sunday’s game at St. Louis. The minor setback doesn’t bode well for him making an impact in Sunday’s game. Tailback Brandon Jackson (ankle) also suffered a setback Thursday and won’t play Sunday. Fullback Korey Hall (shoulder/concussion) is questionable and would be replaced on the active roster by rookie Quinn Johnson if he can’t play. As expected, safety Nick Collins (shoulder) is probable and will start opposite Derrick Martin in St. Louis.

Minnesota Vikings: Middle linebacker E.J. Henderson (shoulder) participated in a limited portion of practice Friday but is questionable for Sunday’s game against San Francisco. This appears to be a true 50-50 scenario. If Henderson can’t play, rookie Jasper Brinkley is the likeliest candidate to replace him. Other possibilities are outside linebacker Ben Leber and reserve/special teams ace Heath Farwell. Receiver Percy Harvin missed practice for the second consecutive day because of an illness and is questionable. He was feeling well enough Friday to attend meetings, however. Update: Harvin is suffering from migraines, as reported on ESPN's NFL Live.

NFC North injury report

September, 23, 2009
9/23/09
6:07
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert


Surveying Wednesday’s injury report around the NFC North:

Chicago Bears: Defensive end Alex Brown (ankle) didn’t practice. Neither did tight end Desmond Clark (ribs) and linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee). Clark and Tinoisamoa aren’t expected to play Sunday at Seattle. Brown’s status will be determined later this week.

Detroit Lions: Defensive end Cliff Avril (hamstring) and linebacker Ernie Sims (shoulder) didn’t practice. Sims is likely to miss several weeks and could be replaced by rookie DeAndre Levy.

Green Bay Packers: Left tackle Chad Clifton (ankle) will be sidelined at least two weeks. Daryn Colledge will replace him, forcing Jason Spitz to move to left guard and Scott Wells to return to center. We updated safety Nick Collins’ status earlier Wednesday. Running back Brandon Jackson (ankle) returned to practice on a limited basis. His status will be determined later this week.

Minnesota Vikings: Linebacker E.J. Henderson (shoulder) did not practice. Coach Brad Childress did not mention the injury when asked about Henderson earlier in the day. On the depth chart, rookie Jasper Brinkley is Henderson’s backup. But you wonder whether the Vikings would move either Ben Leber or Heath Farwell to the position if Henderson can’t play Sunday against San Francisco.

Notable NFC North inactives

September, 20, 2009
9/20/09
11:45
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert


DETROIT -- Here are some early-game highlights of NFC North inactive lists:
  • Green Bay rookie defensive lineman B.J. Raji (ankle) will miss his second consecutive game.
  • Packers offensive line Breno Giacomini is inactive, just in case you thought the Packers might pull a fast one and replace right tackle Allen Barbre.
  • Detroit defensive end Cliff Avril (hamstring) won’t play against Minnesota. Neither will guard Daniel Loper (knee), who had been listed as probable on the injury report. Manny Ramirez will start for Loper.
  • Detroit cornerback Phillip Buchanon (neck) will make his regular season debut, but Lions receiver Dennis Northcutt will return punts for him.
  • Minnesota linebacker Heath Farwell (hamstring) will play against the Lions.

Friday injury report

September, 18, 2009
9/18/09
4:56
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert


Making sense of the Friday injury report:

Chicago Bears: Tight end Desmond Clark (ribs) and linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) are listed as doubtful and won’t play, but we already knew that. The two question marks for the week, left guard Frank Omiyale (ankle) and defensive lineman Mark Anderson (toe) both practiced in full Friday and will be available Sunday against Cincinnati.

Detroit Lions: Defensive end Cliff Avril didn’t practice this week because of a hamstring injury and is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against Minnesota. It would be a shock if he played. Meanwhile, cornerback Phillip Buchanon (neck) was added to the injury report but is listed as probable, meaning there is a good chance he’ll play Sunday.

Green Bay Packers: Left guard Daryn Colledge sat out practice Friday and is listed as questionable, but both he and coach Mike McCarthy appear confident he will start Sunday against Cincinnati. Cornerback Will Blackmon (quadriceps) is also expected to return kickoffs and punts. Meanwhile, rookie defensive lineman B.J. Raji (ankle) fully participated in practice all week but is still listed as questionable. Here’s Jason Wilde’s report over on ESPN Milwaukee. Running back Brandon Jackson (ankle) will not play.

Minnesota Vikings: The only minor question is whether linebacker and special teams ace Heath Farwell will play after straining a hamstring last week against Cleveland. Farwell was limited but did participate in a portion of practice every day this week. He is officially listed as questionable and will be a game-time decision.

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