NFC North: Stock Watch 31810

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Falling

Favre conspiracy theories: Can we all agree it's pointless to suggest that quarterback Brett Favre somehow dropped the ball on recruiting free-agent running back LaDainian Tomlinson? And that the uncertainty of Favre's future actually played a role in Tomlinson's decision to sign with the New York Jets? In my mind, it's simple: Tomlinson went to New York because he's going to play more there. If anything, I'm betting Tomlinson is guessing Favre will play in 2010. Because if he doesn't, the Vikings are likely to revert to their run-heavy scheme -- one that almost certainly would have a significant role for a backup tailback. "Favre's indecision hurts Vikings" makes for a good headline, but there's no meat on those bones.

Rising

Matthew Stafford, Detroit quarterback: Stafford is close to being fully healed from the knee and shoulder injuries that limited him to 10 games in his rookie season. He reported to the Lions' offseason conditioning program as the team's unquestioned starter and has also taken up residence as a locker room leader and representative. Team officials have looped him into their offseason plans, asking him for opinions and even inviting him to make recruiting calls to free agents. "I think they know that I know a lot of guys in the league and personnel pretty well," Stafford said. "It's fun to be able to help out a little bit."

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