NFC North Notes: Lions, Packers, Vikings

     

Lions

Lions HC Matt Patricia appeared on The Rich Eisen Show and spoke about the possibility of competition between incumbent RB Kerryon Johnson and incoming rookie D’Andre Swift.

“There’s competition at every spot, that’s how it’s determined when we get to training camp,” Patricia said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I’m pretty sure I’m good with the quarterback spot, but beyond that, we’re going to go out and compete.”

“For me, we’re going to try to play whoever is going to help us in that particular play, that particular game, whatever it might be,” Patricia added. “If you’re out there for the very first play, or you get out there on the second play, I don’t really understand what the difference is in a starter in that case. But, certainly, we’re excited to be able to acquire Swift and get him on our team and seeing what he can do. Sometimes you put two or three running backs out there. We will see what happens.”

  • Justin Rogers of the Detroit News expects Lions free-agent addition OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai to start as the team’s right tackle despite the team touting his versatility. While Vaitai could move to the left side to fill in for an injury, Rogers thinks he’s a much better fit at tackle than guard. 

Packers

  • Packers DC Mike Pettine told reporters on Friday that he wasn’t concerned for his job following the team’s disappointing NFC Championship game performance: “There was never a moment where I thought I would be anywhere but Green Bay … There was a little angst with my wife about it.” (Matt Schneidman)
  • Regarding the poor run defense the Packers displayed against the 49ers, Pettine said. “No excuses, but we’re not going to let it be this dark cloud hanging over us, but we’re not going to sweep it under the carpet, either.” (Rob Demovsky)
  • Pettine said he sees OLB Rashan Gary having a “significantly increased role” in year two that will give Za’Darius and Preston Smith breaks: “I do see Rashan taking a significantly increased role. I think at times where Preston and Z probably played maybe a little too much, that we want to take some off their plate. So I know Rashan is certainly built to handle giving those guys a break.” (Ryan Wood)
  • Pettine noted that new LB Christian Kirksey already knows his system from their time together in Cleveland so he doesn’t have as much catching up to do as their other signings might. (Matt Schneidman)
  • Pettine identified Kingsley Keke as a young player who could make a big jump in 2020, as they would like to take some of the load off of Kenny Clark and build the rotation a little more. (Wes Hodkiewicz)

Vikings

With the Vikings apparently moving on from DE Everson Griffen, DL Ifeadi Odenigbo is entering the season as if he will take Griffen’s place as the team’s starting defensive end, noting he has come a long way from being a seventh-round pick to recording seven sacks in 2019.

“I’m taking that approach,” Odenigbo said, via Chad Graff of The Athletic. “Obviously we have Danielle Hunter, who is just a freak, so I’m working hard. We all know that Danielle is an established vet. I don’t need much motivation because I see that guy go out, bust his butt every single day, never complains. Even when I’m working out, I’m thinking, ‘What’s Danielle doing now? Danielle is probably doing some crazy stuff and being lowkey incognito.’ It’s good to have guys like him, but I don’t want to be a drop-off.”

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