GREEN BAY, Wis. -- We're Black and Blue All Over:
Half of the NFC North will spend its first full day of the offseason Monday, anticipated to be one of the most unusual in recent times for the NFL. But this is not the time to start discussing the league's impending lockout of its players. We'll have plenty of time to hit that one.
I'm planning a final look at the Week 17 through our Free Head Exam feature, and I'll also sprinkle in some updated information you've been requesting -- including the projected 2011 draft order and the 2011 opponents for each NFC North team, presuming there is a 16-game season this year. A bigger-picture season wrap-up will post later this week.
But first, let's take a quick spin through the local media in each Black and Blue market:
Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times on the Chicago Bears' 10-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers: "The Bears lost, but they get major points for effort."
The Bears rediscovered their suffocating defense Sunday, writes Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com.
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune: "Ugly as any of the first 15 games, this one did no damage to the Bears' playoff viability."
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press has a warning for those who will carry high expectations for the Detroit Lions into the offseason: "Hope is always encouraging. It inflames expectations, accelerating the demands for results far more tangible than a rare divisional third-place finish. But don't think for one minute that it can't ultimately prove as emotionally torturous as despair."
Terry Foster of the Detroit News after the Lions finished the season on a four-game winning streak: "Welcome to Day 1 of the most anticipated Lions offseason in a decade."
Lions linebacker Julian Peterson was inactive Sunday and almost certainly won't return in 2011, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.
Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "Nothing has come easy for the Packers this season, so why should the regular-season finale be any different?"
Packers receiver Greg Jennings atoned for an early-game drop Sunday, writes Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "Not only did the Green Bay Packers accomplish their goal of rendering Chicago Bears record-setting return man Devin Hester a non-factor Sunday, punter Tim Masthay and the special teams units made it look downright easy."
The Minnesota Vikings finished in last place in their division for the first time since 1990, notes Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Leslie Frazier will be introduced as the Vikings' permanent head coach early this week, writes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.
The Vikings hit rock bottom this season, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com, and need to cut out the drama that plagued them all year. Pelissero: "There's no way to stop allergic reactions to medication, collapsing roofs or snow emergencies. But gag orders, covert missions to Mississippi, trades for known locker-room losers, heated spats with star players -- that junk has to stop."