Black and Blue all over: Henderson's future
Minnesota linebacker E.J. Henderson's left foot is so swollen that the team's medical staff hasn't been able to fully assess his condition, which includes two dislocated toes. That situation suggested a long-term absence from the lineup, and Saturday the Star Tribune reported Henderson will miss at least a month.
The absence is a huge blow for the Vikings, who consider Henderson a Pro-Bowl caliber linebacker and named him a defensive captain prior to the season. He'll be replaced by second-year player David Herron, but defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said Friday that strong-side linebacker Ben Leber will take most of the playcalls from the sideline.
Surgery is an option for Henderson once the swelling subsides, according to the Star Tribune's Judd Zulgad. In his previous five seasons, Henderson played in 79 of a possible 82 games.
Elsewhere around the NFC North on this fall Saturday:
- Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, writing in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, says the team "is going to have [its] chances to make plays" Monday night at New Orleans.
- After observing the week of practice in Green Bay, veteran Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter Pete Dougherty writes: "Aaron Rodgers' chances of playing Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons look shaky at best heading into the weekend because of his injured throwing shoulder." Officially, Rodgers is considered a game-time decision but it appears Matt Flynn will be the first rookie to start at quarterback for the Packers since Don Majkowski in 1987.
- The Packers expect Atlanta to force-feed the ball to tailback Michael Turner, especially if linebacker A.J. Hawk (groin) is unable to play. Hawk's status is questionable at best, according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and he likely will miss the first game of his NFL career.
- There have been some rumors that Detroit will trade receiver Roy Williams prior to the Oct. 14 trading deadline, but Williams said Friday he might not fetch the ransom some people think he would. "I don't even know if I'm worth a first-round pick, to be honest," Williams told John Niyo of the Detroit News. "That's what the fans don't understand. I might be a second- or third-round pick."
- The Lions have moved cornerback Leigh Bodden to the left side, while Brian Kelly and Travis Fisher will hold down the right side. Dave Birkett of the Oakland Press puts the move in perspective.
- The Chicago Sun-Times gauged reaction to the one-game suspension of defensive tackle Tommie Harris. Most players were not alarmed because they know coach Lovie Smith doesn't have a quick disciplinary trigger. "I don't think anyone's above the law here, no matter who you are," said cornerback Charles Tillman. "[Smith] treats everybody the same, which is a good thing."
- Brad Biggs of the Sun-Times predicts Tillman (shoulder) will play Sunday at Detroit. Fellow cornerback Nate Vasher, who like Tillman is also listed as questionable, is hopeful he will play.