We're Black and Blue All Over:
The grand total of the Green Bay Packers' latest series of injuries suggested the possibility for one long-term absence, another of a several weeks and a third of minimal consequence.
That's the message coach Mike McCarthy conveyed to reporters late Monday on the status of right tackle Bryan Bulaga (hip), linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) and receiver Jordy Nelson (ankle). Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com has details.
An extended absence for Bulaga would mean a semi-permanent shift of T.J. Lang to right tackle and the insertion of Evan Dietrich-Smith at left guard. It would also leave the Packers without an experienced backup at any of the remaining positions should another injury occur. It doesn't appear that 2011 first-round draft pick Derek Sherrod (leg) is ready to be activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, but I suppose that could change.
McCarthy said Matthews could miss a "couple weeks," which is fortunate because the Packers have their bye this week. They are due back in Green Bay to begin practicing next Monday.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Packers linebacker Nick Perry is getting a second opinion on a knee injury that has kept him out of the Packers' last three games, notes Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
The Packers aren't planning to relieve Randall Cobb of his return duties, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune thinks the Minnesota Vikings need to stay with quarterback Christian Ponder whether he plays "good, bad or horrific." Scoggins: "No matter how poorly Ponder performs -- and it can't get much worse -- the Vikings can't pull the plug on him now. That would undermine the very thing they're trying to determine this season: Is Ponder a franchise quarterback?"
Vikings receiver Percy Harvin on his availability for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions, via Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "We've got a lot of work to do. It's a long shot, but I'm not ruling myself out."
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com breaks down the tape of the Vikings' loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press thinks it's time to stop grading Lions general manager Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz on a curve. Sharp: "It has been four years [since 0-16]. Stop it. Forget about from where they came and concentrate exclusively on where they are now and where they must go in the next eight weeks. If the Lions don't make the playoffs, Schwartz and Mayhew failed. If the Lions don't make the playoffs, there should be serious discussion as to whether they're capable of taking this franchise to an even greater leap -- from the middle class to the NFL elite."
The Lions are in the thick of the playoff race, writes John Niyo of the Detroit News.
Lions running back Joique Bell has proved a more than adequate replacement as a receiver for Jahvid Best, writes Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler told ESPN 1000 he wouldn't be interested in discussing a contract extension during the season. Cutler: "I did it during the year when I first got here, and it didn't work out that well, and I said I'd never do it again. After the year if they want to talk we can talk. If not, we'll play out the next year and see how it goes." Cutler's deal expires after the 2013 season.
Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times: "[T]he halfway point of the season seems like a good time to acknowledge that all the fumble recoveries, all the interceptions and all the Charles Tillman, all the time, are simply what the Bears are. It’s not some strange, wonderful anomaly. Being turnover pigs is part of their DNA."
Tuesday isn't the final word on Bears receiver Johnny Knox's future with the team, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.