We're Black and Blue All Over:
One underplayed factor in the Minnesota Vikings' defensive collapse in the second half of their first two games: They have been without veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who was serving a two-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on banned substances.
Could Williams have made a difference? Did the domino effect of one less established veteran in the rotation play a role in what has happened, especially during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 24-point second half Sunday?
We'll never know for sure, but getting Williams back this week is only going to help.
Williams, via Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune: "Not to be able to [play] is a terrible feeling. So it was real difficult watching, especially the way it unfolded in both of those games."
Williams admitted he is still feeling the lingering affects of plantar fasciitis in his foot and that it is not 100 percent. But, he said: "I'm definitely going to play. Sitting at home two weeks was bad enough. The foot ain't going to stop me.''
Continuing around the NFC North:
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, via Judd Zulgad of the 1500ESPN.com: "We have a chance to be a good football team. We're just not there yet."
Vikings receiver Percy Harvin said the team missed opportunities for two "walk-in touchdowns" Sunday because of missed assignments. Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has more.
Green Bay Packers safety Nick Collins will visit a neck specialist in New York City to help determine treatment options for his season-ending neck injury, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel takes a look at the Packers' offensive red zone issues last Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
James Starks has essentially become the Packers' top running back, writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
The Detroit Lions are not concerned about a finger injury for left tackle Jeff Backus nor a shoulder injury for tight end Brandon Pettigrew, writes Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.
Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press: "The Lions have gone from lousy to good so quickly that we barely had time to wonder whether they might be good. After two games, I have no doubt: They're good."
John Niyo of the Detroit News: "How good are these new-fanged Lions? Well, they're good enough, at least, to spend their free time choreographing and practicing their touchdown celebrations."
The Chicago Bears are hoping to get safety Chris Harris (hamstring) back for Sunday's game against the Packers, writes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was hit 16 times by New Orleans Saints defenders last Sunday, notes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times examines Cutler's culpability for the Saints' effective pressure.