NFC North Notes: Lions, Packers, Vikings

Lions

  • Albert Breer of The MMQB says that Lions second-round RB Kerryon Johnson flashed competitiveness and great run instincts in his first few weeks with the team.
  • According to Breer, if Johnson can get up to speed in terms of his pass protection, he’s a good bet to carve out a nice role in the fall.

Packers

Packers HC Mike McCarthy says that the decision to let 16 of the team’s veterans go on summer break early was designed to create leadership opportunities for younger players and give them more time to develop.

You gotta define the statement—‘limited time with players,’” McCarthy said, via Albert Breer of The MMQB. “From my viewpoint, the defining thing is it’s limited time with younger players. I’m of the opinion—and it started in 2016, and in a different form and fashion it started before that—that you get to a point in the offseason program where you’re trying to create more opportunities for your young players.”

McCarthy explained that it takes time to get players up to speed and that’s clearly the case with younger players that have plenty to learn.

“I think it’s obvious to everybody,” McCarthy said. “If you watch at the beginning of the season, games one through four, one through five, you look at the quality of play, it’s different from before. This is my opinion—it really is noticeable once you have injuries. And unfortunately, we’ve had injuries. When you start battling the injury component, and every team goes through it, now you’re playing younger players a little earlier than you’d like to.

“Very obvious things like that pop out at you and you take time to step away and think about how do address it. How do you improve?

Vikings

  • Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune writes that Vikings C Pat Elflein (ankle, shoulder) is likely to be back in time for the start of training camp.
  • With Elflein back at center, Goessling says that the Vikings could move Nick Easton back to left guard.
  • Minnesota will still need to figure out who will replace Joe Berger at right guard. If Rashod Hill proves he can hold up at right tackle, Goessling says that Mike Remmers could move inside to right guard.

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