Black and Blue all over: Welcome to 2009

Posted be ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Happy New Year from all of us at the NFC North blog! If you're anywhere in the upper Midwest, you rang in 2009 much as you sent out 2008: Shivering. Oh well. I suppose cold weather isn't exactly breaking news in this area.

Things already are ramping down a bit around the division with three teams finished playing games until September. But the blog will continue to roar on, starting every day with the "Black and Blue all over" feature that gets you up to date with what local beat writers are reporting in each NFC North city.

The volume of locally produced stories will ebb and flow during the offseason, but be sure to check here every morning for the best of what is out there.

I've gotten some questions about why I haven't included fan blogs and other media outlets in this roundup. The answer is simple: While there are strong takes on each team all over the Internet, there is no substitute for access. And beat writers are the only media members whose companies put them in position to cover the team daily from inside the team's facility, ferreting out information through firsthand interaction with coaches, players and other sources.

With that said, let's get it started for 2009:

  • Here's an interesting twist to Minnesota's ticket struggle: The Philadelphia Eagles are encouraging their fans to buy up tickets and combat the Vikings' home-field advantage. Rick Alonzo of the St. Paul Pioneer Press points it out.

  • Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson admitted Wednesday he has been dealing with a sprained ankle for the past three weeks, writes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.

  • Green Bay will look for ways to tweak its zone-blocking run scheme during the offseason, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

  • It's probably not a coincidence that two of Detroit's six coaching candidates were teammates of new Lions general manager Martin Mayhew. He played with Miami assistant head coach Todd Bowles in Washington and Redskins secondary coach Jerry Gray in Tampa Bay, notes Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press.