NFC North Notes: Lions, Packers, Vikings

     

Lions

As several former Lions have talked about their departure from Detroit, a few have brought up issues with how HC Matt Patricia runs his program, ranging from his defensive scheme to how he runs practices. Some current Lions players have come to the defense of Patricia’s culture, including DE Trey Flowers and WR Danny Amendola — though it’s worth mentioning both have similar roots to New England as Patricia, who’s made bringing in ex-Patriots a habit. 

“I want it to be as tough as possible in practice,” Amendola said via John Niyo of the Detroit News. “So when I get to the games, it’s . . . I’ve been there before, and I understand what it feels like to be tired in a game because I was tired in practice and I understand what my body can go through and how I can push my body mentally and physically. That’s something that, personally, I really relate to. That’s something I look for. This is my sixth NFL team in 13 seasons and I’ve played for all different types of coaches, all different types of offenses, and methods. So what Coach Patricia has to offer is something that I eagerly look for, because I know that I’ll get the best version of me.”

Packers

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes that while Packers first-round QB Jordan Love could get a start late in the year if the Packers have locked in their postseason position, things are lining up for Love to have a rare true NFL redshirt season. 
  • Packers area scout Charles Walls is leaving for a promotion on the Browns’ staff. Walls had been with Green Bay since 2013 and was most recently the Southeast area scout. (Rob Demovsky)

Vikings

  • The Athletic’s Chad Graff says it’s likely Vikings DT Shamar Stephen will open the season as one of the team’s starters but he’ll face a strong challenge from fourth-round DL James Lynch, DT Armon Watts and DT Jaleel Johnson.
  • Graff points out the Vikings could save $2.6 million in cap by cutting Stephen if he loses the starting job, though it would also create $2.43 million in dead money. 
  • Graff thinks Vikings WR Olabisi Johnson has the edge for the No. 3 slot over veteran WR Tajae Sharpe
  • Graff writes there’s a lot of moving pieces along the offensive line. Right now Dru Samia and Pat Elflein are penciled in as the starting guards but other options include Dakota Dozier or Aviante Collins
  • He adds that OTs Riley Reiff or Oli Udoh could also be moved inside to guard, either if second-round OT Ezra Cleveland starts at left tackle or if they want to get Udoh on the field. 
  • Elflein could even be a surprise cut candidate, per Graff, as his level of play hasn’t been where it needs to be the past few seasons. 
  • Graff believes Vikings CB Holton Hill will start at the other outside corner spot opposite Mike Hughes, with first-round CB Jeff Gladney starting out in the nickel. 
  • Vikings CBs Kris Boyd, third-round rookie Cameron Dantzler and fifth-round rookie Harrison Hand will push Hill for that starting spot. Graff also says to keep an eye on UDFA CB Nevelle Clarke, who received one of the largest signing bonuses of any undrafted rookie this year. 
  • Graff thinks the chances are still good the Vikings work out an extension with S Anthony Harris this summer, as well as one of HC Mike Zimmer eventually as he enters the final year of his contract as well. 
  • Former Vikings DE Everson Griffen has been waiting for things to re-open to take visits with teams before signing but Graff puts his chances of returning to Minnesota still at a coin flip. 

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