NFC North Notes: Bears, Lions, Vikings

     

Bears

An NFL executive tells The Athletic’s Mike Sando that he guarantees the Bears will pick up QB Mitch Trubisky’s fifth-year option next year, despite his struggles since entering the league. 

“I guarantee they will (exercise the option),” the executive said. “The only risk is, does he suffer an injury that lingers to the first day of the league year, and you want to get rid of him?

Meanwhile, a separate executive explained to Sando that he would exercise the option, but “do everything in their power to find the next guy.”

“What Chicago ought to do is pick it up (the option) but do everything in their power to find the next guy,” the exec said. “Identify a quarterback in the draft. Do everything possible to beat this guy out. It’s not guaranteed money. Look at Tennessee [who exercised Marcus Mariota’s fifth-year option in 2018]. Deep down, they had to know Marcus Mariota wasn’t good enough, so they went out and got an alternative (Ryan Tannehill).

Lions

Lions RB Bo Scarbrough said their Week 15 game against the Buccaneers is a “big challenge for me” given they have talented defensive linemen and linebackers. 

“I think this is a big challenge for me,” Scarbrough said, via Tim Twentyman of the team’s official site. “Tampa Bay, they have a really good front seven. Those guys fly to the ball. The linebackers are really fast side to side and they get downhill. They do a lot of moving.”

As for the Lions’ receiving depth after Marvin Jones was placed on injured reserve, HC Matt Patricia said they will do the best they can with who they have available. 

“We’ll do the best job that we can to put whoever it is, whether it is a wide receiver, another skill position, whatever that sort of game plan calls for, in positions to try to make plays,” Patricia said.

  • The DetroitNews.com’s Justin Rogers writes that the Lions could elect to release OT Ricky Wagner and go with Tyrell Crosby at right tackle in 2020, as Wagner has struggled and Detroit could free up $6.1 million in cap space. 
  • The Athletic’s Mike Sando writes it’s still unclear if the Lions will exercise the fifth-year option for LB Jarrad Davis this offseason.

Vikings

Vikings HC Mike Zimmer praised WR Stefon Diggs‘ ability to make “explosive plays” and believes their running game has opened up their downfield passing attack. 

“We’re hitting some explosive plays,” Zimmer said, via Chris Tomasson of The Pioneer Press. “We didn’t get many last year. Because of the run and the play action, Kirk (Cousins) throws a really good deep ball, and (Diggs) can catch. He’s got acceleration to get separation.”

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