We're Black and Blue All Over:
During a light moment Wednesday, we threw out a unique possibility on Twitter for Sunday's game at the Metrodome: What if the now-frequent "Fire Childress" chants from Minnesota Vikings fans are replaced by "Keep Childress" chants from Green Bay Packers fans?
I'm always amazed at how many Packers fans find their way into the Metrodome for this rivalry game, and the Vikings' 3-6 record might spur a few more Vikings fans to sell their tickets. Some fans have organized sarcastic online movements to encourage the Vikings to keep Childress as their coach, for obvious reasons, and you never know what could happen.
This all came to mind upon reading Gary D'Amato's story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about Metrodome crowd noise. Packers coach Mike McCarthy compared it to playing in front of "a bad stereo system." But should the Packers fear a hostile environment? Or will it be even more Packers-friendly then usual? Stay tuned.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com traces the development of cornerback Sam Shields. When he first arrived, cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt said, Shields had "no clue" how to play the position.
The Green Bay Press-Gazette looks at the progress of Packers tailback Brandon Jackson.
Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times: "At 6-3 after a victory over the Vikings, the Bears are driving a wedge between two factions of their fan base: those who are annoyed by Lovie Smith and unimpressed by Jerry Angelo but will tolerate both if the Bears are a good team; and those who are so annoyed by Smith and so unimpressed by Angelo that they'd rather the Bears lose enough games to cause the firing of both than endure a playoff run that might end up in the Super Bowl but could leave them to suffer the indignity of an unfulfilling conclusion to the season that solidifies Smith and Angelo at Halas Hall."
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune on the Bears' second-half prospects: "[B]uckle up and expect a dip or two if you are riding with the Bears."
Some of the improvement Bears right tackle J'Marcus Webb has made can be attributed to the return of veteran Roberto Garza at right guard, writes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "If I'm healthy I'm going to be out there, that's the way I see it. I don't care if it's [the] first game of the season, last game of the season, doesn't matter to me. I don't care what our record is, if I'm healthy I'm playing."
Lions coach Jim Schwartz said the team's record won't influence whether Stafford returns this season, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Lions defensive end Cliff Avril (thigh) might not play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, notes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.
Minnesota Vikings receiver Sidney Rice (hip) said he is not thinking about shutting himself down for the season, writes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.
A Minnesota appeals court judge heard testimony Wednesday about a permanent injunction on the Williams Wall suspensions. Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press explains.
ESPN.com's Elizabeth Merrill takes an insider's view of the Vikings' soap opera. When Merrill interviewed Vikings coach Brad Childress, he was clutching a printout of a story in which nose tackle Pat Williams had defended him.