NFC North: Paul Ernster
Get this: Minnesota actually lost three defensive linemen on Tuesday. In addition to the suspensions of defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, which might be subject to a legal injunction, the Vikings won't have reserve defensive end Brian Robison for at least one week.
According to Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune, Robison had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair what was described as a minor injury suffered in Sunday night's 34-14 victory over Chicago. Regardless, Robison will at least miss Sunday's game at Detroit.
So unless the Williamses' suspensions are overturned, the Vikings will have five healthy defensive linemen available for practice: Ends Jared Allen, Ray Edwards and Otis Grigsby, along with tackles Fred Evans and Ellis Wyms. Rookie defensive tackle Letroy Guion has an ankle injury and missed practice time last week.
The Vikings did not work out any defensive linemen Tuesday, but it seems likely they will have to make a several roster moves soon.
I'll be at the Vikings' practice facility all day Wednesday and will keep you updated. Their media availability starts at about 12:45 p.m. ET and practice is set for about 2:30 p.m. ET. Again, there are indications that Kevin Williams and Pat Williams will file for a legal injunction as early as today.
For now, let's take our morning spin around the division:
- Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on the suspension drama: "Your Minnesota Vikings have been fortunate. That's right. They were able to have Pat and Kevin Williams on the field against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. That was a game they absolutely had to win. There was no guarantee that they'd be available. But the appeal process dragged out just long enough. Now the Vikings are in good playoff shape."
- The suspensions certainly have piqued the interest of people in Chicago. Dan Pompeii of the Chicago Tribune on the impact: "Assuming the suspensions stand, they give the Bears hope because the Vikings' defense without their Pro Bowl tackles is like an e-mail address without a spam filter -- everything can get through."
- Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times has an interesting angle. He suggests NFL owners will not appreciate a lawsuit and will hold it against the Vikings' Zygi Wilf for allowing such a divisive event to occur.
- Green Bay worked out a pair of punters Tuesday but have two more workouts scheduled Wednesday, when they are expected to make a decision on a replacement for Derrick Frost. According to Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the candidates include Durant Brooks, Danny Baugher, Paul Ernster and Jeremy Kapinos.
- The Packers seem likely to increase the playing time of No. 2 running back Brandon Jackson regardless of the condition of starter Ryan Grant's injured thumb, writes Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal.
- Interim general manager Martin Mayhew is extensively involved in Detroit's draft preparations, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com. Mayhew has tweaked some of the team's procedures and is traveling often to scout players.
- Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press on Lions quarterback Daunte Culpepper: "Culpepper has committed seven turnovers in four games, which puts him on pace for the Lions to retire his number."