Black and Blue all over: Turf replacement

As we plow through college basketball's March Madness, the NFL typically pauses as it awaits its annual owners' meetings. That gathering is set to begin Sunday in Orlando, Fla., so as of this moment we don't have a ton of news going on around the NFC North.

However, one interesting development came out of Minnesota on Thursday: The public commission that operates the Metrodome has agreed to replace the FieldTurf two years earlier than scheduled because of excessive wear caused by sharing it with baseball's Minnesota Twins. Here's a full report from Kevin Duchschere of the Star Tribune.

The Twins have moved into their new ballpark in downtown Minneapolis, leaving the Vikings as the only tenant at the Metrodome. Officials will spend $1.3 million to install new turf and convert the Twins' former offices into a Vikings hospitality room. The project should be completed before the 2010 preseason.

This project makes sense. There were obvious patches and divots caused by turf carve-outs for baseball's bases and pitcher's mound.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Free agent guard Chester Pitts visited Detroit on Thursday and is now headed to San Francisco for a visit, writes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.

  • Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy on his visit to Detroit, via the Lions' Web site: "I'd fit in great here. How I wanted to play in college is how they play here, but we played a certain type of defense in college and I had to play within the scheme of the defense. I think that's really what made me successful as I was because I played within the scheme of the defense."

  • Kentucky fullback John Conner will visit the Lions on Monday, writes John Niyo of the Detroit News.

  • Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette wonders if the Packers would hire Scot McCloughan if he permanently leaves his job as San Francisco's general manager. McCloughan was once a college scout in Green Bay.

  • Chicago needs to continue improving its defensive personnel, writes Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times.