BBAO: Minicamp for Chicago Bears

For a Friday in May, today is shaping up to be pretty busy in the NFC North.

For starters, the Chicago Bears will kick off their veteran minicamp with the first of five practices at 9:30 a.m. ET. About 90 minutes later, a Minnesota judge is expected to release a key ruling in the Williams Wall legal case. If the suspensions of Minnesota Vikings defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams are upheld, I think we can start having a serious conversation about their looming absence for the first time since this saga started in December 2008.

Meanwhile, we'll have an army of ESPNChicago.com reporters on the ground at Halas Hall to bring you the micro details of every Bears practice. I'll pass along their information when I can and then come back early next week with some perspective on where the Bears stand.

In the meantime, let's preview the minicamp and see what else is happening around the division:

  • Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune: "The Bears have a six-horse race at wide receiver and the starting gate will be lifted Friday morning."

  • Bears defensive end Israel Idonije is looking forward to his second year under defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, writes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.

  • Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times looks at the relationship between Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz and quarterback Jay Cutler.

  • Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald: "Despite the free-agency windfall that brought Julius Peppers, Chester Taylor and Brandon Manumaleuna, or perhaps because of it, the Bears have a lot of questions to answer when their full-team minicamp begins Friday."

  • The Bears have signed all but one of their draft choices after inking sixth-round quarterback Dan LeFevour to a four-year contract Thursday.

  • Detroit Lions right tackle Gosder Cherilus is making progress in his recovery from right knee surgery, writes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.

  • Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com: "One of the more interesting aspects to the Detroit Lions defense this season is the casual acceptance that a third-round draft pick going into his second season -- DeAndre Levy -- will be able to fill the starting middle linebacker spot without problems."

  • Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: "The Lions showed unflinching faith in Matthew Stafford last year, entrusting him with the starting job right from the opener. Now, not so quietly, they're ready to take the next important step, and actually give him a better chance to do the job."

  • Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette is anticipating a training camp battle between Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz at left guard.

  • New Minnesota Vikings cornerback Lito Sheppard is trying to put behind him a disappointing season with the New York Jets, according to the Star Tribune.

  • Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com profiles rookie Vikings tight end Mickey Shuler.