NFC North Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings

     

Bears

Former Colts P Pat McAfee says he says he considered returning to the NFL and spoke to the Bears about competing for their kicking job.

“All the stars seemed to be aligning for a potential comeback for me to kick field goals,” McAfee said on the “Dan Patrick Show”, via Yahoo.com. “I went through an entire stress test with their kicking coach. The ball was flying well. I think I was going to be the first guy in the history of the league that both punted and kicked successfully in the NFL.”

McAfee mentioned that his bothersome knee began to swell up on him.

“I got on a plane and my old-ass knee just started to swell up and I couldn’t even get to the bathroom,” McAfee said. “My knee was literally talking to me, like, ‘Hey, man, we’re not doing this again. Let’s just talk into microphones, enjoy our lives, have some vitamins. We’re not getting back into the rigors of kicking footballs again.’ I was ready to do it again, full focus.”

Lions

The Lions have pre-planned rest days for QB Matthew Stafford which will make it six straight days of light throwing for Detroit’s starting quarterback. Lions HC Matt Patricia says the rest was pre-planned to fall in between the joint practices with the Patriots and Texans and there’s nothing wrong with Stafford. 

“I don’t really do the pitch count thing,” Patricia said via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free-Press. “I know a lot of people like to do stories about the quarterbacks and the pitch count in baseball. I’m not a baseball guy. I think for me it’s just, it’s really just a feel thing as far as having the game on Saturday. You really got to think about the games and the practice weeks that we have and what’s leading up to it. What’s different about the preseason is you can really get into some unusual weeks. (Game on) Thursday, (then) Saturday, (then) Friday, (then) Thursday (on a short week). Now we know the fourth one, when that is, and then to get ready for the regular season. Some of the patterns are just different then they would be normally during the regular season. … So it’s kind of just a weird sort of weekly schedule, where in the regular season it is what it is. You have to just prepare and go normal. But where we can maybe control some of that in the preseason we always look at those options.”

  • According to Justin Rogers of DetroitNews.com, the Lions released RB Theo Riddick before the team began padded practices because of durability concerns.
  • Riddick signed with the Broncos but is now out six to eight weeks following a fractured shoulder in the preseason opener. 

Packers

Packers S Ibraheim Campbell joined Green Bay midseason last year off waivers from the Jets and instantly made an impact. Campbell was well on his way to establishing a role for himself on the defense before a torn ACL in December jeopardized his progress. The Packers monitored his recovery and felt confident enough to re-sign Campbell last week. 

“It’s always an unknown,” Campbell said via Wes Hodkiewicz of the team website. “That’s kind of the nature of the NFL. I felt like I left a good impression with these guys. I’m appreciative of them giving me another opportunity… and I intend to make the most of it.”

  • Packers WR Equanimeous St. Brown left practice with a knee injury before later returning. Packers TE Evan Bayliss also hurt his quad, while fifth-round DL Kingsley Keke returned from a thigh injury. (Tom Silverstein)
  • Packers UDFA LB Curtis Bolton is ready to seize his opportunity after the injury to LB Oren Burks moved him to the first team at linebacker: “Statistically I’m a guy that’s supposed to come in, play in camp and go about my way and be on practice squad, at most. But I have higher expectations for myself … I’m always gonna bet on myself.” (Matt Schneidman)
  • Packers WR J’Mon Moore, who was a fourth-round pick in 2018, says he understands time is running out and he’s on the roster bubble: “I feel like a lot of people are frustrated with me, and I’d be frustrated, too. Especially me knowing what I can do, and what they brought me here for.” (Ryan Wood)

Vikings

  • ESPN’s Courtney Cronin reports the Vikings traded a fifth-round pick to the Ravens for K Kaare Vedvik not only to compete with K Dan Bailey but also to potentially push Matt Wile for the punting position. 
  • Both Bailey and Wile have struggled at times during training camp, though the Vikings are rotating long snappers and holders which isn’t making his job easier. 
  • Vedvik’s agent John Perla says his client is more than capable of playing either kicker or punter, though doing both might be a stretch: “Whatever the team wants him for, he’s become pretty adept at both of them. If they say, we want a punter, he can be the punter. If they want a kicker, he can be the kicker. I can’t believe they would have 1 guy do both.” (Chris Tomasson)
  • Vikings RB De’Angelo Henderson missed practice on Sunday because of a sprained ankle. (Chris Tomasson)

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