NFC North: Justin Fargas

We're Black and Blue All Over:

Minnesota Vikings receiver Percy Harvin confirmed to reporters Monday that he is being treated for sleep apnea, a condition that might have triggered his increasing frequency of migraine episodes this summer. Harvin said the diagnosis came when he was hospitalized after an Aug. 19 collapse during a Vikings practice.
Harvin (via Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press): "They'd just barge in the room and be like, 'Harvin, you OK?' I'd say, 'I think so.' [They said] 'Well, your heart just wasn't beating.' I was like, 'What do you want me to do?'"

Indeed, doctors determined his heart was stopping and then re-starting during the night, a common symptom of sleep apnea. He now sleeps with an oxygen device and said he feels a "100 percent difference" when he wakes up in the morning.

Whether this cures his migraines, slows them down or merely helps him sleep better, Harvin appears to be in a better place than he was a month ago.

Continuing around the NFC North:
  • Vikings owner Zygi Wilf's enthusiasm hasn't dampened following a Week 1 loss at New Orleans. According to Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune, Wilf said: "We built a team that we expect to go all the way. We're not holding back right now. ... We pretty much feel that we're all in. We're going to try our best to fulfill our goal."
  • Tom Pelissero of "Sidney Rice expects to remain on crutches for a couple more weeks, and the Minnesota Vikings' top receiver said on Monday he hasn't set a target date for returning to practice following last month's hip surgery."
  • Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel lists these veteran agent running backs as available if the Green Bay Packers look for outside help to replace Ryan Grant (ankle): Willie Parker, Ahman Green, Justin Fargas and J.J. Arrington.
  • Because the Packers spent the entire game at Philadelphia in the nickel, A.J. Hawk did not receive a single defensive snap, notes Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Inside linebackers coach Winston Moss: "If I was in that same situation, I would be upset if I didn't play and I was going into an opening game ... and I had a very good preseason. I would have wanted to play. I'm sure a highly competitive guy would have wanted to play. I would use it as -- if I have to do whatever it takes and do more to stay on the field as much as possible, I've got to do whatever it takes. That would be my attitude."
  • The Packers plan to re-sign defensive lineman Jarius Wynn to replace the injured Justin Harrell (knee), confirms Jason Wilde of
  • The Detroit Lions agreed to terms with former Chicago Bears cornerback Nate Vasher, notes Tom Kowalski of Vasher could replace injured nickelback Aaron Berry.
  • Lions coach Jim Schwartz called backup quarterback Shaun Hill "one of our biggest offseason acquisitions," writes John Niyo of the Detroit News.
  • Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on his series of injuries in the NFL: "Pretty perfect hits. Guys dropped me on my shoulder pretty hard both times. I'd call them weird, freaky injuries more than anything." Michel Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press has more.
  • Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is willing to gain yards on the ground, notes Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald.
  • Michael C. Wright of questions the Bears' decision to match Lions receiver Calvin Johnson in single coverage on the play that nearly beat them Sunday.
  • Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz made a number of concessions Sunday for his still-developing offensive line, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times: "Devin Aromashodu started the 2010 season the way he ended the 2009 season: as the Bears' hottest receiver."

NFC North weekend mailbag

March, 20, 2010
Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space

I like smoke and lightning
Heavy metal thunder
Racin' with the wind
And the feelin' that I'm under
Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space

Like a true nature's child
We were born, born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never wanna die

Born to be wild
Born to be wild

That’s right, folks! I’m heading down to Florida for Spring Break … er, the NFL owners meeting, which unofficially opens Sunday and continues through Wednesday. (Question: Does connecting Steppenwolf with Spring Break date me?)

I’m hoping to run in to a number of our NFC North heroes/owners/general managers/coaches during my time in Orlando, and I think have a pretty good idea of the questions you would want asked. If you want to make sure I know what you want to know, be sure to hit the mailbag, send me a Facebook message or Tweet me.

For now, let’s address some of your lingering questions and issues from last week.

Responding to our discussion on Chicago and free agent receiver Kevin Curtis, Steve of Herndon, Va., writes: Curtis caught 60 passes in Mike Martz's system but I feel like the Bears aren't going to sign any veteran wide receiver free agents. Fair or not, Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd has left a bitter taste in Jerry Angelo’s mouth.

Kevin Seifert: Yes, nothing the Bears have done in the past 12 months suggest they are eager to add a veteran receiver to their talented but experience-shy mix. They want Earl Bennett to continue developing, they envision Devin Hester as a playmaking slot receiver and got some strong flashes from youngsters Johnny Knox and Devin Aromashodu last year.

But here’s where I’m coming from: Curtis (or Torry Holt for that matter) wouldn’t necessarily mean a loss of playing time for any incumbent. I just don’t think there is any harm in depth and, more important, competition. If Bennett, Hester, Knox and Aromashodu are ready to step up like many believe they are, let’s see them go to training camp and beat out a veteran receiver with experience in Martz’s system.

While all four incumbents have high ceilings, they aren’t established enough to enter camp with minimal competition. Let’s see them earn their roles, and ultimately they’ll be better for it. And if they’re not up to it, the Bears could plug in Holt or Curtis. There’s a big difference between counting on a veteran player, as the Bears did with Booker and Lloyd in recent years, and employing them as safety nets.

Second, it’s always worth keeping an eye on available players with connections to the current coordinator. Look at what’s happened in Detroit. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has been reunited with former Minnesota receiver Nate Burleson and quarterback Shaun Hill. Martz, meanwhile, made a point to bring quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan with him to San Francisco a few years ago.

Will it happen? I don’t see much urgency on the Bears’ part. Should it happen? To me, there is no downside.

Lucas of St. Paul writes: What do you think are the chances of the Vikings picking up Nathan Vasher on a one or two year contract to attempt to patch the secondary holes that the Vikes need to fill? And if the did get him would they still probably draft a CB in the first or second round?

Three minutes later, Adam of Madison, Wis., wrote: I'm sure this question has been asked to you already, but do you think Vasher could have a chance in Green Bay?

Kevin Seifert: I understand the question. Both teams are a bit thin at cornerback because of knee injuries to Cedric Griffin (Minnesota) and Al Harris (Green Bay). And sometimes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But in this case, I guess I would ask Vikings and Packers fans to tell me what they saw from Vasher the past few years that would suggest he would be a significant improvement over their incumbent depth?

Vasher really hasn’t been a factor since the Bears’ Super Bowl run in 2006. Chicago is no deeper than the Vikings or Packers at cornerback, and they chose to move on rather than even attempt to negotiate a lower contract.

Vasher is certainly a recognizable name. But I’m not sure I would trust him any more than I trust the younger players currently on each team’s depth chart.

Cal of Eau Claire, Wis., writes: When will they officially release the 2010 schedule?

Kevin Seifert: The exact date hasn’t been announced, but typically it comes in the first or second week of April. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, we should get a few high-profile matchups announced next week at the owners meeting. That could include a national season-opener pitting Minnesota at New Orleans.

Alex of Wausau, Wis., writes: This new punter Green Bay signed from the Australian Football League, Chris Bryan, is he from Australia or what? I can't find any info on him other than he signed a three-year deal with the Packers.

Kevin Seifert: Yes, Bryan is in fact an Australian native who has been attending an academy known as Prokick Australia in hopes of making the transition to the NFL. According to this Australian media report, Bryan has played Australian rules football since 2005.

At this point -- and I emphasize we have many more points to go -- Bryan is competing with Tim Masthay for the Packers’ punting job. There is some precedent for Australian punters making it in the NFL. Success stories include Arizona’s Ben Graham, Philadelphia’s Sav Rocca and Dallas’ Mat McBriar.

Kody of Orem, Utah, tells us to pipe down after noticing our blurb about five years passing since the last time a Lions backup quarterback won a game: The Pack haven't had a backup QB win a game for them since 1992.

Kevin Seifert: Well-played. I can’t think of a better way to describe stability for one team and chaos for another.

CuRay of Albuquerque, N.M., writes: I am a huge lions fan. Do you think Detroit will take a long look at signing Justin Fargas or wait until the draft to find a new running back?

Kevin Seifert: I suppose it’s possible, but the Lions already have one veteran runner on their roster in Maurice Morris. At this point, it’s just as likely that they’ll sit tight on available runners like Fargas and see if they can find a younger, fresher set of legs in the draft. Running backs are quickly-spent commodities. More than any other position, it’s best to get them young.

Cody of Minot, N.D., writes: In re-signing Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, are the Packers sending the message to T.J. Lang that he is not a legitimate starter and is better off being a utility lineman? I myself am happy with what I saw out of Lang last year. I'm a little bit confused on this one. Sing the words of wisdom to me, Kevin.

Kevin Seifert: The hills are alive/with the sound of music… Oh, wait, you meant wisdom on Lang. I don’t think the Packers were necessarily sending him a message. I just believe they don’t want to enter the season with an unproven starter and no safety net. It’s still possible that Lang could end up starting in 2010. But unlike last season, the Packers will have both Clifton and Tauscher available for depth and competition.