NFC North Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings

     

Bears

  • The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain writes that if Bears TE Trey Burton is healthy there’s a chance HC Matt Nagy could design packages to get him and TE Jimmy Graham on the field at the same time. 
  • Baylor WR Denzel Mims has FaceTimed with the Bears in lieu of a meeting following the COVID-19 outbreak. (Justin M)

Lions

New Lions OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai had to bide his time for four years with the Eagles. Vaitai was a key reserve, starting 20 games in four years at both guard and tackle, but he never cracked the starting lineup in Philadelphia. However, his experience learning from more established veterans and playing multiple positions helped him cash in with a five-year, $45 million deal from Detroit this offseason. 

“I played all positions so it really helped me in terms of the free-agent market. . . . I had great guys over there. [Brandon] Brooks always told me you’ve just got to be patient,” Vaitai said via Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “Same as Jason Peters; he was always telling me, ‘Hey, just be patient. You won’t get your moment now, but as long as you know how to work and double your work ethic, it’ll be great for you. Especially knowing I can play all positions I guess it really helped the stock a little bit. . . . Wherever they need me, I can help the team.”

Packers

  • ESPN’s Rob Demovsky writes that two independent NFL evaluators ranked the Packers pending 2021 free agents in the same priority: LT David Bakhtiari, DT Kenny Clark, C Corey Linsley, RB Aaron Jones and CB Kevin King
  • Demovsky said Jones’ agent was open to starting extension talks at the Combine last month but the Packers might have other priorities like getting a deal done with Clark first. 
  • An agent who correctly predicted what OT Bryan Bulaga and LB Blake Martinez signed for this past year has Bakhtiari and Clark at $17 million per year, Linsley and King at $10 million a year and Jones at $5 million a season. 

Vikings

  • ESPN’s John Keim mentions the Vikings as a potential trade candidate for Redskins LT Trent Williams
  • New Vikings WR Tajae Sharpe said he picked Minnesota because of the opportunity for a major role after the team traded WR Stefon Diggs: “With Diggs being traded, having kind of a void to fill, I had an opportunity to come in here and compete for a starting spot. That’s all you can ask for is an opportunity to compete.” (Chris Tomasson)
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