We're Black and Blue All Over:
It appears the Green Bay Packers are on track to get one of their injured players back in time for the playoffs.
Defensive end Cullen Jenkins returned to practice Wednesday and expressed confidence that he will be available for Sunday's wild-card game at the Philadelphia Eagles. Jenkins hasn't played since straining a calf muscle Dec. 5.
Jenkins, via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "I'm pretty encouraged. I was able to do a lot of stuff. My biggest thing was that I didn't want to just go out there and do running on the side, because you can favor it and you can kind of anticipate everything that you're going to do. I told the coaches and the medical staff that I wanted to go out in a team situation so you have to react and you can't favor it. You have to just adjust out there on the fly. It was pretty good for my confidence to be able to make it through all that without any problem."
It's not clear if Jenkins will be ready to play a full game, especially considering how active the Eagles are on offense under quarterback Michael Vick. But the Packers can't help but benefit from the return of a defensive lineman who had seven sacks in 11 games this season.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Elias Sports Bureau granted Packers linebacker Erik Walden a total of three sacks and 16 tackles after reviewing film of last Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Although the belief is that the Bears bought their way to the NFC North title this year, the reality, according to Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune, is that they ranked No. 21 in the NFL in player payroll this season.
It is expected that Vikings linebackers coach Fred Pagac will be named defensive coordinator, writes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The Vikings signed six players to futures contracts, notes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.