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Black and Blue all over: Henderson's injury

Let’s catch up on Sunday night’s late news: multiple news outlets report Minnesota linebacker E.J. Henderson fractured his left femur during Sunday night’s 30-17 loss at Arizona. The femur is the thigh bone, and it’s the first time I can recall covering a football player who broke it.

It’s a brutal injury that will obviously cost Henderson his season. It’s too early to know what it means for his career, but players were alternately silent and emotional in the Vikings’ postgame locker room.

“It was terrible,” linebacker Chad Greenway said, according to Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune. “It was hard to watch and it was hard to continue to play after it happened.”

Henderson was scheduled to remain in Phoenix and undergo surgery, according to coach Brad Childress. We started a discussion Sunday night about possible replacements for Henderson, a list headed by rookie Jasper Brinkley.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: “The Vikings didn't lose to the Cardinals because they made mistakes or, as coaches say, ‘beat themselves.’ They lost because they were outplayed. There's no reason to panic, but this shows that there still is work to do between now and Feb. 7. And the veneer of invincibility has taken a hit.”

  • Favre said he "let the defense get to me" on two interceptions Sunday night. ESPN.com's Jeffri Chadiha covered Sunday night's game from the Vikings' perspective.

  • Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiles new Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who will take the NFL’s second-ranked defense into Monday night’s game against Baltimore.

  • Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: “Dating to the 2000 season, the Packers have posted an 18-4 record at Lambeau in December and January regular-season games. That’s the fourth-best home record in the NFL, trailing only New England (18-3), Denver (16-3) and Pittsburgh (19-4).”

  • Packers right tackle Mark Tauscher has enjoyed his comeback, writes Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee.

  • Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times after the Bears’ 17-9 victory over St. Louis: “The Pittsburgh Steelers' loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday dropped the Steelers to 6-6 and means the Bears have not beaten a winning team. The Bears are 5-7 with the next three against winning teams, the Packers, Ravens and Minnesota Vikings, before the finale at the hopeless Detroit Lions. Can the Bears beat one winning team before the season is done? If they can't, what does that tell you?”

  • Did injured linebacker Brian Urlacher’s blunt words work to focus tailback Matt Forte? David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune asks that question.

  • Bears linebacker Jamar Williams unofficially totaled 18 tackles in place of the injured Lance Briggs, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago.

  • Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press looks at a number of costly penalties in the Lions’ 23-13 loss at Cincinnati.

  • Lions coach Jim Schwartz made several questionable strategic decisions, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.

  • Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News thinks it’s about time for quarterback Matthew Stafford to rest his ailing left shoulder: “Enough is enough. Matthew Stafford already has shown how tough he is, and how much he still has to learn. But the Lions have reached the point of diminishing returns with their ailing rookie quarterback, and it's best for both sides to admit it. How many times does he have to walk off the field with his left shoulder sagging before it's apparent to all he shouldn't keep playing? It makes no sense, not anymore.”