NFC North Rumors: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings

   

Bears

Part of the reason the Bears are rumored to be shopping RB Jordan Howard is the fourth-year back’s fit in HC Matt Nagy‘s system.  

“When you’re dealing with running backs, in this offense, you want to be able to have a guy that has really good vision that can make guys miss,” Nagy said via Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times.  “And at the same time, there’s that balance of being a hybrid, being able to make things happen in the passing game, too, where you’re not one-dimensional. That’s not easy.”

Howard’s targets and receptions have gone down each of the past three seasons as the Bears have increasingly relied on other running backs in the passing game. Nagy also said it’s hard to get Howard the number of carries he needs to be effective.

“When people talk about Jordan . . . you see with our identity as an offense, it’s just not an offense where you’re going to get 25 to 30 carries necessarily all the time or every game where he can expect that,” Nagy said. “We were all figuring out together, including Jordan, how we’re going to make this thing go. And he wasn’t the only one.”

Lions

Detroit GM Bob Quinn did not rule out the possibility of using the No. 8 pick on a TE like Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson.  

“If there’s a player that’s worthy of the eighth overall pick and he happens to be a tight end then I’m not against that,” Quinn said via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “It’s kind of a little bit early in the process to say who that player may or may not be. But I don’t have any guidelines that I’ve ever developed over my years in scouting that say you can’t take a player at this position at that number.”

  • Quinn said the team is still evaluating what to do with RG T.J. Lang, who is entering the final year of his contract and dealt with a lingering neck injury last season: “Everyone’s kind of different in terms of the evaluation process on each player. Some players you can have the evaluation done in a couple weeks after the season, some guys linger a little bit longer. I would say T.J. is in that category of someone that we’re still kind of going through the process of thinking about what we want to do and kind of talking to T.J. a little bit here and there.” (Michael Rothstein)

Packers

Vikings

Minnesota HC Mike Zimmer said he’s expecting QB Kirk Cousins‘ second year to run smoother than his first.

“I think he had a good year,” Zimmer said via NFL Media’s Kevin Patra. “I think because he signed a big contract everybody is on his rear-end about this, and we didn’t win enough games, and same with me I guess. The big thing is, is every free agent I ever had, in 25 or 26 years or how many ever years I’ve been coaching, they’ve always played better the second year.” 

  • Zimmer says the Vikings would love to bring back DT Sheldon Richardson and LB Anthony Barr, per Andrew Krammer, but might not be able to: “If we can’t afford them, we’ll have to move on unfortunately.”
  • Zimmer is considering adding a full-time kicking coach to his staff given the serious ramifications of some of the Vikings’ missed kicks in recent seasons.  (Krammer)
  • Zimmer expects DE Everson Griffen to return to the team in 2019.  (Tom Pelissero)
  • The Vikings “hope” CB Mike Hughes is ready for the season opener as he recovers from a torn ACL in October.  Zimmer hinted it could be a longer rehab process for Hughes.  (Krammer)
  • In response to Minnesota picking up Zimmer’s option for 2020, he said: “First of all, I love this football team. I’ve given them almost two eyes now. The organization, the owners, working with this group, the fans have been outstanding. I never wanted to go anywhere. I’ll be here for 10 more years, I don’t care.” (Ben Goessling)
  • Ole Miss OT Greg Little says he’s met with the Vikings. (Goessling)
  • Boston College G Chris Lindstrom had an informal meeting with the Vikings. (Chad Jensen)
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