What a difference a year makes. Last year the Packers landed seven players on the Pro Bowl team. "This year's team landed just three players on the Pro Bowl squad, the lone starter quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The other two were linebacker Clay Matthews, a starter in 2011 who was chosen for a fourth straight time, and center Jeff Saturday, who made it five times with Indianapolis," writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Guard Josh Sitton and kick returner Randall Cobb are first alternates for the Pro Bowl, meaning if there's an injury, they will replace the injured player.
More on the Packers and the Pro Bowl comes from Packer Report, JSOnline, Fox Sports Wisconsin, ESPNMilwaukee.com, Associated Press, Green Bay Press-Gazette, PackersNews.com and the Packers official website.
The selection of center Jeff Saturday, in particular, is evidence of a flawed voting system for the Pro Bowl. Saturday played poorly enough to be benched in favor of Evan Dietrich-Smith, a demotion that appears to be permanent, barring injury. "Saturday led the fans’ voting at center, but that counts only one-third overall in determining Pro Bowlers," writes Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette. "The other thirds are the voting by players and coaches. So Saturday had enough votes from those other two groups to finish second at center in the NFC, behind only Seattle’s Max Unger." The Pro Bowl is what it is. It's difficult to blame the NFL for putting on a game with players the fans want to see. But it's also not a team comprised of the best players in the NFC and the AFC, which the common fan often perceives it to be.
A couple of blog posts at ESPNMilwaukee.com offer a couple different looks at the Pro Bowl, including comments from Jeff Saturday saying Josh Sitton was deserving of the Pro Bowl and head coach Mike McCarthy saying they have to "do something" about the Pro Bowl.
The Packers' Pro Bowl snubs are looked at in a blog post by NFC North Bleacher Report writer Andrew Garda.
As the Packers returned to practice on Wednesday, they saw the return of a couple different players from injury. "Receiver Jordy Nelson, who had missed the last three games after injuring a hamstring early in the Dec. 2 game against Minnesota, was a full participant at Wednesday’s practice as the Packers began preparations for Sunday’s game at Minnesota," writes Bill Huber of Packer Report. "Receiver Randall Cobb, who was injured on a punt return last week, was limited at practice." Cobb will reportedly test his newly injured ankle on Friday before determining if he'll play against the Vikings. C.J. Wilson, Alex Green and Tom Crabtree all returned to practice on Wednesday.
Despite a return by many players, Charles Woodson remains out with a broken collarbone and insists he hasn't suffered a setback. “There’s nothing (unusual) going on, just holding out,” Woodson is quoted as saying by Pete Dougherty. “Everything’s looking good but I just think the longer you can hold it off, then I guess the better it is. So we’re just waiting.” Although the questions remain about if and where he'll fit into the defense upon his return, it still seems possible Woodson will be able to return in time for the playoffs.
More on Charles Woodson's status comes from Fox Sports Wisconsin.
It's possible a Packers-Vikings rematch could occur in the Wildcard round of the playoffs if Minnesota wins Sunday's game.
Defensive lineman C.J. Wilson is testing out his injured knee, reports Tom Silverstein.
A scouting report on the Vikings appears at the Journal Sentinel.
The chemistry issue between Jermichael Finley and Aaron Rodgers is revisited at ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Aaron Rodgers talks about getting off to a quick start against the Vikings.
Sports Illustrated named the blown call from the Packers-Seahawks game earlier this season the No. 1 sports moment of the year.
A Neenah teen is featured in a Packers fan documentary.
The story of a Florida Packers fan moving to Green Bay to attend every game this season comes from Fox 11.
Video: Desmond Bishop talks about his injury in an appearance on Inside the Huddle...
Brian Carriveau is the author of "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and an editor at Cheesehead TV. To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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