NFC North Notes: Bears, Lions, Vikings

     

Bears

  • Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune says the Bears won’t make any significant free agent signings at outside linebacker as long as Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd are at their current salaries — which rules out signing Falcons LB Vic Beasley.
  • Biggs doesn’t see Saints QB Taysom Hill being a fit for the Bears as a potential solution to their QB issues given they’d have to surrender a pick and likely sign him as a restricted free agent. 
  • While the Bears will give G Rashaad Coward a chance to compete for the starting position at right guard, Biggs gets the sense that’s an area Chicago is looking to upgrade. 

Lions

Lions WR Kenny Golladay took a step forward as Detroit’s No. 1 receiver in 2019, leading the team with 65 receptions, 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns. He did all of that despite only playing with starting QB Matthew Stafford for half the season. Golladay is entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2020 and says he would like to stay with the team for a while longer, though he’s not stressing about getting a deal done right away. 

“I wouldn’t mind being in Detroit for a while. Everything should work itself out. I’m enjoying myself,” Golladay said via USA Today’s Doug Farrar.

Vikings

After former Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski left to take the head coaching job with the Browns, Vikings HC Mike Zimmer turned inward to senior offensive assistant Gary Kubiak as the most logical replacement. It wasn’t a slam dunk the veteran coach would take the job, as Kubiak stepped down as the Broncos head coach in 2016 due to health issues and has worked just as an assistant the past few years. It turns out, though, that he was ready to take on more, as he says he “never lost the joy” of coaching, per the AP’s Dave Campbell

“I just said, ‘Coach, do you mind if I go back home and mow some grass for a couple days or something to think about it,” Kubiak said via John Shipley of the Pioneer Press. “I told him two days, and I think I called him in about a day and a half. I was just really excited to do it.”

Kubiak was the dream target because of the continuity between what Stefanski was running last season and the offense Kubiak has run his entire career. It was also a draw for the 58-year-old coach, as there was already a foundation for him to build off of. 

“I get here, we put a system in place, we go to work, we do a job throughout the course of the year,” Kubiak said. “And then one thing changed: One guy got a head coaching job. For me, it’s very familiar. I didn’t have to go back to work a month ago and, say, start over with a new group of coaches. We’re way ahead. We can go back to work and try to make up some more ground here. I think all those things together added a little fuel to the fire, so to speak. It made it easier for me to say, ‘Zim, I appreciate the opportunity, and I’m looking forward to it.'”

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer points out that a fairly significant change could be just a year or two away in Minnesota, with Zimmer in the last year of his deal and key Vikings players getting older. 
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