We're Black and Blue All Over:
Make that an even dozen reported candidates for the Chicago Bears' open head-coaching position. The latest: Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports the Bears want to interview a pair of Minnesota Vikings assistants: Mike Singletary and Mike Priefer.
Singletary had a Hall of Fame career as the Bears' middle linebacker and was the San Francisco 49ers' coach for parts of three seasons from 2008-10. But his time in Minnesota has been much less visible, and he is currently the Vikings' special assistant to the head coach and also works with linebackers coach Fred Pagac.
Priefer, meanwhile, is the third special teams coordinator's name to emerge. His work in identifying, drafting and developing Pro Bowl place-kicker Blair Walsh has been lauded throughout the organization.
It's now clear that Bears general manager Phil Emery is using this opportunity to meet as many NFL assistants as he can and assemble a mental database of their thoughts, ideas and personalities. Who knows how many of these candidates are serious contenders for the job, but it's worth noting that three of the 12 names that have been reported are from division rivals.
For what it's worth, Singletary is the only one with either head-coaching experience or a defensive background. ESPN's Adam Schefter has reported the Bears hope to bring two finalists to Halas Hall this week.
Continuing around the NFC North:
It's possible the Bears could keep defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli in his position, according to Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
Indianapolis Colts players say that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is ready for the job, writes Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Green Bay Packers' special teams have graded out high this season, writes Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Plenty has changed since the Packers' first meeting with the 49ers, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is on his way to becoming one of the most clutch playoff quarterbacks in NFL history, writes Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has the team on the right track, according to Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.
Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson's plans to run hard at the Pro Bowl are part of Tom Pelissero's roundup at 1500ESPN.com.
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder on his right arm injury, via Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "Obviously, we weren't that sure if I was going to be able to play or not. We wanted to be optimistic."
The Detroit Lions need to get more physical at cornerback, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Lions president Tom Lewand, via the Free Press, told a television station that the Lions have the nucleus of a "perennial championship contender."
Justin Rogers of Mlive.com has grades for the Lions' defense.