NFC North at night

As we catch up on some Christmas Eve news, please note that all four NFC North teams have altered their weekly schedule to ensure they won’t practice on Christmas Day.

Chicago Bears: Safeties Al Afalava (knee) and Kevin Payne (ankle) missed their second consecutive day of practice. Running back Adrian Peterson (illness) and cornerback Charles Tillman (not injury related) both missed practice. Linebacker Lance Briggs (back) and tight end Desmond Clark (illness) returned to full practice Thursday. Receiver Devin Hester (calf) was limited.

Detroit Lions: As we noted earlier, the Lions announced that quarterback Matthew Stafford will undergo season-ending surgery on his knee next Tuesday. Three defensive starters were not on the field during the early portion of practice, according to Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press: Linebacker Larry Foote (foot), safety Louis Delmas (ankles) and cornerback Phillip Buchanon (shoulder).

Green Bay Packers: Nose tackle Ryan Pickett (hamstring) and cornerback Trevor Ford (knee) did not practice. Linebacker Brandon Chillar (back) was limited but is expected to play Sunday against Seattle. Cornerback Charles Woodson (shoulder) returned to practice on a limited basis.

Minnesota Vikings: All players participated in at least a portion of practice. … Tailback Adrian Peterson said he loves playing at Soldier Field, where he has rushed for 345 yards and five touchdowns in two previous games. “Just being a Walter Payton fan, I’m always pumped up for that game, especially in Chicago,” Peterson told Minnesota reporters. “It’s also that I love playing on grass fields.”