We're Black and Blue All Over:
Well then. Wednesday evening got interesting pretty quickly. We weren't expecting Minnesota Vikings receiver Percy Harvin to be ready for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears, but no one thought he was headed for injured reserve because of a sprained ankle, either.
Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com is among those who think there was more than a sprained ankle going on behind the scenes here. Zulgad termed the episode "another reminder of why the Vikings might be willing to sever ties with Harvin if he doesn't accept a contract on their terms."
Yes, Harvin has one year remaining on his contract and almost certainly is seeking an extension. The Vikings' hesitation could be simple business, but it could also reflect their concerns about his mercurial and eccentric personality.
Ultimately, Harvin proved himself a highly valuable asset this season on the field. You would think his performance would trump all. We'll see if the Vikings offer any context Thursday.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press thinks the Vikings overused Harvin this season.
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder on his performance against the Green Bay Packers, via Chris Miller of the Star Tribune: "It was kind of a wake-up call that obviously I need to be doing some stuff differently, and change my game and elevate my play."
The Packers' secondary is getting healthy, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It appears that cornerback Sam Shields (shin) is ready to return.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy on the team's spate of injuries, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "Self-pity is a waste of time. It's a wasted emotion. Frankly, I think it’s a part of the National Football League. I don't think we've created any secret formula on how we go about it. We just stay focused on what's in front of us. You have to."
Don Barclay might end up starting this week at right tackle for the Packers, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Bears cornerback Kelvin Hayden is preparing to start against the Vikings in place of the injured Tim Jennings, notes Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.
Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times thinks that linebacker Brian Urlacher will return next season because of "the organization’s deep aversion to change."
The Bears aren't likely to retaliate against Vikings defensive end Jared Allen for his season-ending hit two weeks ago on guard Lance Louis. Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com explains.
Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz said the team has gone "off track" this season but hasn't regressed, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh denied accusations that he celebrated a concussion suffered by Indianapolis Colts offensive tackle Winston Justice. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, Suh said: "I am the type of person that would never celebrate anybody being injured. I was celebrating my team playing well."
The Lions weren't looking to replace left tackle Jeff Backus permanently with rookie Riley Reiff when Backus was injured, according to Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.