NFL Nation: Chad O\'Shea

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

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Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

The NFL's StarCaps case should be decided before the 2009 season begins. But not much before.

That's the upshot of Tuesday's news that a Minnesota judge has set a June 15 trial date for Minnesota defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, along with three New Orleans players (two current and one former), in their lawsuit to prevent four-game suspensions for violating the league's policy on using banned substances.

Absent an out-of-court settlement, the process will drag on for at least the rest of the NFL offseason. The Vikings will be left to guess as they make contingency plans for the possibility of opening the 2009 season with both players suspended, which would be the result if the NFL prevails in the case.

Here are detailed accounts of the situation from Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.

Now let's continue around the NFC North:

  • One possible free-agency target for Minnesota is Baltimore offensive lineman Jason Brown, according to Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
  • The Vikings agreed to terms on a one-year contract with cornerback Charles Gordon, who missed the final seven games of 2008 after dislocating his left ankle. Gordon was set to become a restricted free agent but instead will receive up to $1.3 million in 2009. Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune reports.
  • Chad O'Shea, recently promoted to be the Vikings' assistant special teams coach, left the organization to become New England's receivers coach, according to Zulgad.
  • Chicago quarterback Kyle Orton on the mixed messages the Bears have sent on his future: "I know [general manager Jerry Angelo is] behind me. A lot of that stuff can be taken out of context. I feel I have the support of this organization. I'm going to do everything I can to prove to them that I'm the guy." Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune reports.
  • Kirkland Crawford of the Detroit Free Press provides some excerpts of Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford's interview with Sports Illustrated. Stafford expressed eagerness to play for the Lions.
  • Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel matches up players at the combine with the Green Bay Packers' needs.
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

I get regular requests for updates on the health of Minnesota defensive end Kenechi Udeze, who missed last season while fighting an acute form of leukemia.

Minnesota coach Brad Childress told local reporters Thursday night that Udeze remains on track to participate in the Vikings' Organized Training Activities when they begin this spring. Those drills typically are scheduled for after the draft.

Udeze was declared to be in remission early last summer and then underwent a bone marrow transplant. He remains under contract, and the Vikings will give him every opportunity to make the team in 2009. Here is Rick Alonzo and Sean Jensen's report in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Continuing around the NFC North on this Friday morning:

  • The Vikings promoted offensive assistant Chad O'Shea to assistant special teams coach, according to Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune. O'Shea had spent the past three seasons working mostly with receivers.
  • The Vikings signed Canadian Football League linebacker Kenny Onatolu to a contract, according to Sun Media. He played college football at Nebraska-Omaha.
  • Chicago became the latest team to freeze ticket prices for the 2009 season, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • The Bears will absorb a 1 percent increase in the City of Chicago's amusement tax as part of the decision, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette examines how long it might take for the Packers to make the transition to the 3-4 defense. Here's how new defensive coordinator Dom Capers put it: "You have enough flexibility that you adapt your scheme to the players you have. You can't totally change the players you have. As you gradually work toward your percentage of playing a defense, it's not as high the first year as it is the second year, and you gravitate."
  • Soon to be ex-Detroit cornerback Leigh Bodden on Sirius NFL Radio: "I don't want to say divided but I don't think everybody was on the same page, to tell you the truth. That's what I felt and that's what I saw, especially in my situation. I can only speak from my situation and that's what I felt." Dave Birkett of the Oakland Press provides a transcript of Bodden's interview.

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