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Morning take: Mendenhall has illness

Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker

Here are the most interesting stories Friday in the AFC North:

  • Pittsburgh Steelers tailback Rashard Mendenhall missed Thursday’s practice with an illness, leaving his status up in the air for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

Morning take: Willie Parker (toe) is healthy again and appears to be ready to take a bulk of the carries if Mendenhall can’t go. We will know more about Mendenhall's status when the injury report comes out Friday evening.

  • Speaking of the Browns, return specialist Joshua Cribbs reportedly wants a trade if he cannot get a new deal.

Morning take: Barring a tremendous offer, the Browns don't seem interested in moving Cribbs by next week’s trade deadline. He’s too valuable and too much of a bargain.

Morning take: He’s leading the league in rushing when recently nobody wanted him. Benson’s candidacy looks pretty strong.

  • Minnesota Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson will be a huge test for the defense of the Baltimore Ravens.

Morning take: Baltimore has faced the league’s top two rushers in a seven-day span with Benson and Peterson. Will the Ravens develop a new streak of keeping rushers under 100 yards?