10

July

Packers Fans Begrudging Respect: NFC North Players You Hate To Love

hate/LoveWhen the news broke about the arrest of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson this past weekend, it got me thinking about some things.

Despite not knowing most of the facts about the situation, many fans greeted the news of his arrest with jeers and snickers.  I get it, it’s what fans do.  Whenever a member of a rival team (especially a hated rival team like the Vikings) does something stupid and gets in trouble, it’s natural for fans of the other team or teams to poke fun at the situation.

Look at all the trouble members of the Detroit Lions have been in.  It was obvious Jim Schwartz was leading a team that had many clowns on it last year after the Suh stomping incident, but this offseason has just confirmed it.   It’s despicable and a sign of a bad culture inside that locker room.  The criticism Schwartz and the Lions have been receiving is deserved.

However, Peterson’s incident (which at the moment sounds incredibly sketchy) deserves no such wrath of fans.  Despite playing for “the purple team,” Peterson has been an upright citizen since coming into the NFL and has done nothing wrong previously to earn such scorn from fans.

The only “wrong” he has done is that he made the Packers defense look foolish multiple times and that’s obviously why Packer fans greeted the news with such venom.  That reason however is not an excuse to celebrate a guy going to jail who has previously been squeaky clean.

If it sounds like I actually like and respect Adrian Peterson, it’s because I do.  As I told Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee on Twitter Sunday, as much as I love the Packers I also love the game of football and respect those who have played and currently play it, regardless of what color uniform they wear.

So yes I enjoy watching Peterson play….in those other 14 games in the regular season just like I enjoyed watching not let the color blindness that is team loyalty cloud our sight or our judgment.

In that theme, I present to you, in no particular order, five NFC North (non-Packer) players I hate to love.

Adrian Peterson, RB Minnesota Vikings

Before you rip me a new one, please keep in mind I mean in the other 14 games when these teams are not playing the Green Bay Packers.

18

May

Looking at the Packers’ NFC North Rivals: How the Lions, Bears and Vikings did in the NFL Draft

NFC North DivisionPigskin Paul analyzes the 2012 NFL Draft Class of the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings.

 

LIONS

The LIONS made the Play-Offs with 10-Wins and but for a few less injuries, and a bit more talent at certain positions they might have been able to make a solid run at a Super Bowl appearance. Lots of teams could say the same thing, but those other teams weren’t setting a League record for futility by going 0-16 but a few years ago. The team has truly come a long way since the FORD family parted ways with MATT MILLEN, and turned most of the personnel matters, including the DRAFT, over to MARTIN MAYHEW. The 2011 DRAFT didn’t even yield much immediate help because of serious injuries to NICK FAIRLEY & MIKEL LESHOURE.

The 2012 LIONS DRAFT looks promising on paper. RILEY REIFF may be the most talented OL that the team has drafted in the past decade. Whether he takes over at LT or RT he almost certainly guarantees that MATTHEW STAFFORD will take less hits in the pocket starting now. He’s a good athlete and comes from the FERENTZ school of OL play, which means he’s fundamentally sound and tough already. He’s a great value at Pick 23. The team took a slight flier in Round 2, by picking OKLAHOMA/WR/RYAN BROYLES. He’s coming off a serious knee injury and will most likely start the season on the PUP list. But if he returns to pre-injury form he’ll make NATE BURLESON an extra piece by season’e end. He’s only the NCAA D1 all time receptions leader, and is a dangerous Return Man as well. Healthy, he was a marginal late first rounder only lacking in great speed.I like the calculated gamble.

Rounding out their Top 100 Picks at No. 85 was DWIGHT “BILL” BENTLEY/CB who may have been a slight unknown to those who only study Top 25 Boards on the internet, but is well regarded overall as potential starting CB, who should be ready for sub-package work at the least, immediately. These three Picks represent some very solid work by the end of Friday Draft Night.