We're Black and Blue All Over:
Most of the consternation surrounding the Minnesota Vikings' offensive line has focused on the left tackle position, where newcomer Charlie Johnson has made only fits and starts of progress and most recently allowed a scary blindside sack of quarterback Donovan McNabb in Saturday's preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.
But Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com points out another simmering issue: right guard, where the Vikings have started two different players this preseason and still aren't sure when presumptive starter Anthony Herrera will be ready to go. Herrera is nine months removed from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and predictably had a tough first few days back in practice last week.
Chris DeGeare started the first preseason game and journeyman Scott Kooistra started Saturday night.
The Vikings' first-team offense has accounted for three points in the first two preseason games. When healthy, Herrera is a feisty run-blocker who gets by on competitive juices and raw desire. It's clear the Vikings have planned for his eventual return, but the timing yet isn't clear.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press grades the Vikings at the midpoint of the preseason.
Vikings rookie quarterback Christian Ponder, via Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune: "I think the biggest thing has been getting used to the speed of the game and on top of that learning this offense and building team chemistry. I think the biggest adjustment is the windows aren't as open as they were in college, and you have to make the reads a lot faster and get the ball [out] a lot quicker than last year. It's an adjustment, and I'm part of that learning curve right now but it's been fun."
Jason Wilde's profile of Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson at ESPNMilwaukee.com includes this thought from Woodson on his coverage: "It's funny [that] people say my coverage has slipped, but they ignore everything else that I do. I mean, what else do you want me to do? I give everything I have out there on the field, and if you're sitting here telling me I'm getting beat every play [in coverage], then you're wrong. I go out there and play any way they want me to play because that's what I like to do. Sure, yeah, they could sit me out there on the edge all game. Then what? Yeah, they could waste me out there if they wanted to, but why? Then everything else drops off. The point of me doing all that other stuff is that I can go find the ball."
Packers quarterback Graham Harrell appears to be solidifying his hold on a roster spot, according to Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Packers are happy to have defensive lineman Howard Green, writes Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Chicago Bears guard Lance Louis has reached the turning point of his career as a starter with the team, writes Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com. A poor performance against the New York Giants on Monday night could force a lineup shift.
The entire offensive line will be under scrutiny Monday night, notes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
Kellen Davis is ready to take over as the Bears' top tight end, writes Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Detroit Lions rookie receiver Titus Young returned to competitive drills for the first time since injuring his hamstring on the second day of training camp, notes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Lions left tackle Jeff Backus on his return to practice after suffering a pectoral injury, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "I've worked my butt off in the training room and the weight room trying to get my chest right. It's to the point now where it's not an issue. We just move forward from here."
Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com breaks down Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's 27-yard pass to tight end Brandon Pettigrew from Friday night.