We're Black and Blue All Over:
The Minnesota Vikings are 2-8 with six games remaining this season, tying them for the second-worst record in the NFL. Their season has gone so poorly that Mark Craig of the Star Tribune appropriately took a moment to note the performances of the worst teams in the franchise's 50 previous seasons.
Here is the key paragraph: "In Vikings history, there are two teams that set the benchmark for misery. The 1962 team (2-11-1) had the fewest victories and the worst winning percentage (.179). The 1984 team had the most losses [with 13]. Only three other teams in franchise history lost 11 games, the last coming in 2001."
When the season began, few of us thought the Vikings would compete in the NFC North this season. But I'm not sure we thought they had a terrible team, either. After losing big leads in their first three games, they've produced some increasingly uncompetitive losses. It's hard to imagine them doing anything other than adding another one Sunday at the Atlanta Falcons.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Vikings haven't invested nearly enough in drafting offensive linemen in recent years, writes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
In an appearance on ESPN 1500, Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson (hamstring) said he hopes to return to the starting lineup this week.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wonders how much a knee injury is bothering Green Bay Packers right guard Josh Sitton, who has been inconsistent this season.
Packers running back James Starks credits being bowlegged for escaping a significant injury last Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune on why the Chicago Bears should acquire quarterback Kyle Orton: "Orton is by far the best available player who is not on an NFL roster. He plays a position of need for the Bears."
Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times profiles current Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie.
ESPNChicago.com writers think Hanie will need to be more than a game manager in place of starter Jay Cutler.
The Detroit Lions' coverage teams face a big test in Packers returner Randall Cobb, writes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News: "The Lions haven't exactly made Thanksgiving Day games compelling holiday viewing in recent years. They have lost six in a row by an average of 23.3 points. Talk grows louder every year the league should take the game away from Detroit. Owner William Clay Ford and vice chairman Bill Ford Jr. have fought diligently at the owners' meetings over the years to keep the tradition that started here in 1934. It's time the team held up its end of the bargain."