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Black and Blue all over: More Winfield

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Chip Scoggins and Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune report that Minnesota cornerback Antoine Winfield did not attend Tuesday's voluntary organized team activity.

Normally, you can't get too excited when a player skips a voluntary workout. But the absence comes immediately after Winfield missed the Vikings' mandatory minicamp to attend the funeral of a close friend's mother last weekend. Coach Brad Childress acknowledged Winfield was at the funeral but would not discuss whether the absence was excused.

Childress also made clear that all veterans had been "invited" to attend this week's OTAs. It's well-known that Winfield is entering the final year of his contract and has yet to reach an agreement on an extension. Are the two issues connected? Winfield deserves the benefit of an opportunity to explain before we jump to any conclusions. But the evidence, at least, is mounting.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty joked Tuesday that he will sign an executive order for Twins catcher Joe Mauer to play quarterback for the Vikings in light of the indecision of retired quarterback Brett Favre. It's at the beginning of the video here. (Mauer once turned down a scholarship to play quarterback at Florida State.)

  • Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press checks in with former Green Bay offensive lineman Jerry Kramer.

  • Green Bay safety Atari Bigby on the effect of his ankle injury last season: "Every step hurt. Every step. Walking around, not even on the field -- I mean, just like walking in the mall, walking from my couch to the bathroom." Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette traces Bigby's comeback.

  • Former Chicago safety Mike Brown will visit Kansas City, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times. It's believed to be Brown's first free-agent visit since the Bears told him this winter that they did not plan to re-sign him.

  • Lions coach Jim Schwartz on the best golf advice he's ever received: "Go out, and when you hit a good shot, enjoy it and be happy. And when you hit a bad shot, tell yourself, 'You know, I'm really not that good,' because if you think that you're good, every bad shot you hit, you're going to get frustrated." Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press reports.

  • Will the Pontiac Silverdome be a prop in a future Steven Spielberg movie? Kathleen Gray of the Free Press looks into it.