NFC North Watch: It's (Not) A Hard Knock Life For Us

As if we didn't need to be reminded that the actual NFL champs finished second in their own division, the Green Bay Packers received special permission to have the entire team come together for their championship ring ceremony.

And what do the Lions, Vikings and Bears have in common? None will make an appearance on Hard Knocks, as Zygi Wilf and the Vikings are the latest to have turned down an offer to star on the HBO reality show. I suppose they have more interesting things to do - working on a new stadium proposal, figuring out this whole quarterback thing... I could insert a Love Boat joke in here somewhere, but I'd say that ship has sailed long ago.

Apparently when a Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer catches up with Jared Allen, he's "trying to kill me a rat." Yes, that's the quote from the article. Anyway, the actual substance of the article discusses the Vikings preparing for life without defensive end Ray Edwards, the lesser-heralded of the Minnesota pass-rush. Backup Brian Robison signed for 3-years, $14.6 million - looks like that's Allen's linemate.

The Lions are still making moves - Thursday, they announced the addition of Brandon Fisher, Jeff Fisher's son, as an assistant to the defensive coaching staff. For the connection, Jim Schwartz was the defensive coordinator under Jeff. Never mind, however, that they started two-week furloughs last month for some of their employees.

After spending 10 weeks in rehab following shoulder surgery, Matthew Stafford says he's "excited to be back healthy." Let me know when someone's excited to be injured... That comment aside, he's been working with Dr. James Andrews - "He's a great guy, but I don't want to hang out with him too much more." There's some good stuff here.

The Lions have started two-week furloughs, and if revenues sink, Packers employees might be joining them. President and CEO Mark Murphy says the lockout has not immediately had a significant impact on the team's bottom line, but if it does start costing them money, furloughs will be considered and started.

And to close out, everyone's favorite WCG Punching Bag Trent Dilfer has apparently found himself a new target. He Who Knows All Things Quarterbacking compared twelfth overall pick Christian Ponder to Elvis Grbac. No, really. "Christian Ponder is Elvis Grbac. ... Any time he's asked to quicken up or there's people around him, his accuracy is awful. ... Christian Ponder tests off the charts. ... He goes to his pro workout, he's in shorts and a t-shirt. His big pecs are hanging out. He's got big guns." Of course, Ponder came back with "It almost comes across as personal for some reason. I didn't know he was doing medical tests at the Combine." No, Trent, picking on a new quarterback will not win us over.

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