We're Black and Blue All Over:
As Leslie Frazier moves through his first full week as the Minnesota Vikings' permanent head coach, one question hangs over more than any other: What will he do about the offense?
Will Frazier change schemes or retain the West Coast system?
Will he want Darrell Bevell to return as the Vikings' offensive coordinator?
Who will he hire to replace running backs coach Eric Bieniemy? Will he wait to solidify the coordinator first?
Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune examines those questions. Frazier's career-long work as a defensive coach, and his hesitancy to discuss many details about his offensive philosophy, have left these questions a mystery. Frazier has said he wants to focus on running the ball but also said he wants to mold the playbook based on existing personnel.
The biggest clue will come when Frazier names an offensive coordinator, whose background should offer a glimpse into the Vikings' long-term intentions.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Williams Wall might have played its last game together, notes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com offers a film review of the Vikings' Week 17 loss to the Detroit Lions.
Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette considers the long-term implications of the Green Bay Packers' decision to give linebacker Desmond Bishop a contract extension.
Bishop took the deal with the possibility of a work stoppage at the front of many players' minds, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
The Packers' defense isn't worried about the possibility of its offense shutting down against the Philadelphia Eagles, writes Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com takes a look at the Chicago Bears' possible playoff matchups.
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune writes that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler needs to be calm in the playoffs. Haugh: "A calm Cutler gives the rest of the NFC playoff field anxiety. He can dominate a game when his head is right and his feet are planted. But as we were reminded against the Packers, the more the Bears quarterback lets his emotions get the best of him, the less chance his team might have of getting to the Super Bowl."
Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times: "The 10-3 loss to the Packers in the regular-season finale Sunday may have served as the perfect reminder to offensive coordinator Mike Martz that 'balance' remains the key word for offensive success. If Martz had been thinking of passing on a balanced attack, the Bears' three-point afternoon in Green Bay -- as well as the lumps on quarterback Jay Cutler's body -- should prompt him to abandon that game plan."
Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com offers season-ending grades for the Detroit Lions.
For the first time in a while, the nucleus of the Lions is expected back, writes Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News.
Lions defensive end Cliff Avril, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "You don't have to be embarrassed to say you played for the Lions this year."