The Minnesota Vikings are the most recent addition to the division having joined in 1961.
The NFC North is the oldest division in the entire NFL.
It wasn’t until the NFL split into eight divisions in 2002 that the division would be renamed the NFC North Division.
The NFC North Division boasts some of the greatest talents of the entire National Football League.
You could make the argument that you could compose an entire NFC Pro Bowl roster from the Black and Blue Division alone.
There are certain players that, regardless of team allegiance, you take pleasure in watching. Players that give their all, leaving everything on the field, game in and game out.
You didn’t have to be a fan of the Detroit Lions when the "human highlight reel" Barry Sanders was in uniform, but you loved to see him run.
This is a list of five of those players that you hate to love in the NFC North.
Team: Detroit Lions
Position: Defensive Tackle
Weight: 300 lbs.
Experience: Second Season
Suh is 100 percent ruthless aggression. He doesn’t just hit the ball carrier, he explodes through him.
2010’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year is primarily responsible for the significant turnaround the Lions have enjoyed recently. Detroit has even become the media darling as an outside contender for the playoffs in 2011.
In 2010 Suh made 66 tackles, 10 sacks, forced a fumble, picked off a Sam Bradford pass and returned a fumble for a touchdown.
Those are pretty stout numbers for a rookie defensive lineman, on a young Detroit Lions team.
You don’t have to be a fan of the Detroit Lions to be a fan of Ndamukong Suh. He plays with a true Jack Lambert grit, one that all football fans can be appreciative of.
Suh represents more than a new beginning for the Detroit Lions—he represents a powerful foundation, an attitude and a never-say-die mentality. He embodies the very characteristics that Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is looking to establish in Detroit.
Ndamukong Suh is just merciless, that’s why if you’re not a Detroit Lions fan you hate to love him.
Team: Green Bay Packers
Position: Defensive Back
Weight: 202 lbs.
Experience: 14th Season
Perennial Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Woodson is an absolute playmaker, and someone that Green Bay has learned to rely heavily on.
In 2009 he was named the league's Defensive Player of The Year.
Woodson’s versatile abilities are the primary feature in Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ defensive scheme.
Woodson is one of the league's greatest shutdown corners…ever. He is a terror in the Green Bay blitzing scheme. Woodson is a run-stuffing, power-hitting, turnover-forcing machine. He is an absolute threat to score any time he touches the ball.
As a junior in ’97, Woodson summed up in one statement the impact that he would go on to have in every game of his prolific pro career. After defeating Ohio State for a third year in a row, Michigan Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson said, “They do all the talking, and I do all the walking.”
Anytime an Ohio native shuns Ohio State University, electing instead to go to bitter rival the University of Michigan, he is my kind of guy.
Team: Chicago Bears
Position: Middle Linebacker
Weight: 258 lbs.
College: New Mexico
Experience: 12th Season
Understand this, I despise the Chicago Bears. There are only two Bears in the history of their organization that I hold any type of admiration or respect for. Linebackers Dick Butkus, and Brian Urlacher.
If you aren’t a fan of those two players then you aren’t a fan of football.
Urlacher has dominated at the middle linebacker position since his arrival to the NFL. Aside from his NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2000, he was named the National Football League’s Defensive Player of the Year in ’05.
He was the first to be selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons since Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers did it from ’65-’67. He’s been selected to the Pro Bowl a total of seven times in 12 years.
"Grrr-Lacher," as his teammates refer to him, is the epitome of veteran leadership.
Aside from injury-shortened seasons in ’04 and ’09 Urlacher has played in every game of his 12-year career.
You can’t watch this guy on the field and not be amazed at how he plays. If Dick Butkus and Ray Lewis aren’t the best linebackers to ever play the game, then Brian Urlacher is.
Team: Green Bay Packers
Position: Outside Linebacker
Weight: 255 lbs.
Experience: Third Season
In only two full seasons in the NFL former USC walk-on Clay Matthews has 23.5 sacks, one interception, three forced fumbles and two defensive touchdowns.
In 2010, Matthews, along with list mate Charles Woodson, led a Green Bay Packers defense to a Super Bowl XLV victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Matthews’ hit on Steelers running back Rashard Mendhenhall resulted in a fumble that was instrumental to the Packers championship.
He is by far my favorite non-Detroit Lions player.
Team: Minnesota Vikings
Position: Running Back
Weight: 217 lbs.
Experience: Fifth Season
In high school, Adrian Peterson asked for No. 29 in homage of Eric Dickerson, but it wasn’t available. He settled for No. 28 and has worn it ever since.
Adrian’s size and speed are astonishing. He is bigger and faster than you even realize. At the rookie combine in ’07 Peterson ran a 4.40 40-yard dash and recorded 20 bench press repetitions. That’s more repetitions than linebackers Brian Urlacher, Patrick Willis and James Harrison recorded prior to their rookie seasons.
When I think of the way Peterson runs the ball, only a few running backs come to mind: Walter Payton, Eric Dickerson and Gale Sayers.
To be honest with you, though I love his dominant combination of power and grace, I didn’t think that Peterson’s bruising running style would hold up in today’s NFL. But it has.
Nicknamed “All Day” and “Purple Jesus” Peterson has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons.
Peterson owns at least five NFL records, with the most notable being most 200-yard rushing games as a rookie (two), most rushing yards in a single game (296) and most rushing yards in the first eight games of an NFL regular season (1,036).
There are only two instances that you need to be aware of when summarizing Adrian Peterson’s play, both of which are product of Peterson's 2009 season. The first is a dump pass reception versus Pittsburgh Steelers, and the second is a 64-yard touchdown run against the Cleveland Browns.