We're Black and Blue All Over:
One of the key events of the Minnesota Vikings' offseason is taking place in a Minneapolis court room this week. The felony trial of cornerback Chris Cook, a talented player at a position of otherwise thin depth, began Monday with jury selection.
The Vikings have indicated the trial's outcome will determine Cook's future with the team. He hasn't played since being arrested Oct. 22 and ultimately charged with felony strangulation and third-degree assault after a domestic incident with his girlfriend.
Coverage here from Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune and Emily Gurnon of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. According to Gurnon, the trial could hinge on a conversation between Cook and his girlfriend in which she recanted accusations that he strangled her.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Vikings have not yet finalized their roster decisions but should do so by Saturday, according to Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel isn't convinced that the Green Bay Packers will get a third-round compensatory draft pick next year for the departure of quarterback Matt Flynn.
Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette takes a closer look at the Packers' plans to adjust their running game.
Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril on receiving the team's franchise tag, via Chrissie Wywrot of the Lions' website: "Honestly and truthfully -- at the end of the day -- I'm very, very fortunate to be franchised by an NFL team. I'm very blessed. That being said, being a business, you always want to do what's best for you and your family. Being franchised -- I'm blessed and I'm definitely happy about being considered a player to give that tag to. I just hope we can continue to negotiate and try to get something done."
Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch called Avril "our unquestioned MVP last year," according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
The Chicago Bears were believed to have been interested in signing Avril, notes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times tries to establish the value of Bears tailback Matt Forte.
Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com considers the history of bounties between the Bears and Packers.