We're Black and Blue All Over:
The Minnesota Vikings appear to have avoided one obstacle to their suburban stadium proposal. The Ramsey County Charter Commission voted Tuesday night against using a voter referendum to decide whether to use $350 million in county taxes to help pay for the stadium in Arden Hills, Minn.
The commission must still vote to approve the tax, and citizens could petition for a referendum later. But the Vikings said that a referendum approved Tuesday night would have caused a delay that added $100 million to the total cost of a $1.057 billion project.
The Vikings didn't have much time to celebrate, however. A report commissioned by Gov. Mark Dayton suggests that Ramsey County could be left ill-equipped to deal with other county business if it devotes so much taxpayer money to the stadium. It also said the timetable to open in 2015 might be too "aggressive."
Dayton is prepared to call a special session of the legislature this fall if all stadium matters are agreed upon, but that does not appear imminent.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, possibly referring to Dayton's stadium report, cast doubt on whether the Vikings stadium will end up in Ramsey County, according to Bill Salisbury of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Pawlenty: "I'm not sure in the end it will end up in Ramsey County. I think you'll see some more data coming forward about sites and options ... as this unfolds."
Mark Craig of the Star Tribune reflects on one of the better games of Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson's career.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier has two delicate matters to deal with in quarterback Donovan McNabb and receiver Bernard Berrian, writes Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.
Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiles Green Bay Packers linebacker Erik Walden.
Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette offers a scouting report on the Packers' next opponent, the St. Louis Rams.
Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com goes behind the scenes with Packers special-teams ace Jarrett Bush.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press offers this nugget on the Detroit Lions' playoff chances: "Since 1990, when the NFL went to its current playoff format, 32 of the 36 teams that started 5-0 have made the playoffs, according to STATS LLC."
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News examines the Lions' nine-man wave of defensive linemen.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz has put his players on an even keel, writes Philip Zaroo of Mlive.com.
The Chicago Bears' offensive line had way too many breakdowns Monday night, writes Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com on Bears general manager Jerry Angelo: "Under Angelo's watch, the 2011 Bears have the worst offensive line (tight ends included) and the worst group of safeties in the NFL, and maybe the CFL, and arguably a bottom-five group of receivers -- though aside from a drop or two, you can't pin the Lions loss on them."
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune: "Dane Sanzenbacher is the ultimate everyman, which is a polite way of saying anybody could be the leading wide receiver for the Bears."