We're Black and Blue All Over:
Long before he led a team of investors in purchasing the Minnesota Vikings in 2005, Zygi Wilf's family owned a real estate company that had significant investments in Southern California. His frequent visits have often provided convenient fodder for the rumor mill, mostly because his private plane has an unmistakable Vikings logo painted on its tail and the team has always been rumored to be a candidate to relocate there.
So when the Los Angeles Daily News reported Thursday that Wilf's plane was spotted at a Southern California airport, in the same week when his stadium bill in Minnesota was quashed, the news spread quickly.
As we've discussed, we are now in a phase of increased pressure and dramatic rhetoric as the franchise's future is sorted out. Whether the plane's arrival in Southern California was coincidental, an expensive message or an indication that Wilf is in negotiations to sell the team to a Los Angeles investor, the overlying point hasn't changed: The Vikings will eventually leave Minnesota if they don't secure a stadium deal.
Are they already angling to leave with 10 days remaining in the state's legislative session? I can't answer that. Just consider it another reminder of a potential future reality.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Regardless of the plane's purpose in California, the NFL is sending commissioner Roger Goodell and other executives to Minnesota for meetings Friday on the stadium, notes the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The Vikings have met two league requirements for a relocation, notes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune.
The Vikings' contingency plan at running back is incomplete, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
It's safe to assume the Green Bay Packers will select an outside linebacker relatively high in the draft, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Offensive lineman Chad Clifton has been working out in the Packers' offseason program, a good sign that he will get a chance to return in 2012. More from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Packers general manager Ted Thompson said he is "fine with" having Graham Harrell and Nick Hill as the backups to starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best (concussion) has been working out in the team's offseason program, according to Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
Lions general manager Martin Mayhew's draft philosophy can be boiled down to "the best player for us." More from the Detroit News.
The Lions haven't changed how they evaluate prospects after having three of their 2011 draft class members have legal entanglements related to marijuana, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com takes a look at the Chicago Bears' prospects for drafting a receiver.
Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery's approach is rooted largely in the "Patriot Way," writes Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.