NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings


  • According to the Athletic’s Adam Jahns, Bears DT Akiem Hicks had a dispute with DL coach Chris Rumph during and after the game against the Giants. He didn’t practice the following week and didn’t travel with the team to the regular-season finale against the Vikings, capping off what looks like a frustrating end to his Chicago career. 
  • Jahns and the Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain look at the potential GM candidates for the Bears, including agent Trace Armstrong, Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown, Saints assistant GM Jeff Ireland, Raiders director of pro scouting Dwayne Joseph and former Vikings GM Rick Spielman. All have either played or worked for the Bears. 
  • Bears execs Champ Kelly and Mark Sadowski are also interesting internal candidates, per Fishbain and Jahns. There are a host of other names to watch, including Bills exec Brian Gaine who was a finalist for the job the last time it was available. 
  • Bears chairman George McCaskey said the plan is for the team to hire a GM before a head coach: “The general manager will be responsible for the entire football operation.” (Kevin Fishbain)
  • However, McCaskey said they will hire a coach they like if they fear they will miss on him. (Biggs)
  • McCaskey mentioned CEO Ted Phillips and former NFL executive Bill Polian will help in choosing both the GM and HC. (Brad Biggs)
  • McCaskey said first-round QB Justin Fields is not involved in the HC search. (Adam Jahns)


  • Lions HC Dan Campbell commented on the decision not to bring back OC Anthony Lynn: “I felt like this is just best for both of us…I wish him the best. He’s been a true pro. He works his tail off and gave us everything he had so I appreciate him for that.” (Dave Birkett)
  • Lions C Frank Ragnow said he ruptured a tendon in his foot vs. Chicago: “Pain-wise, I think I could have handled it…Player-wise, I don’t think I would have been nearly the player I need to be to help this team.” (Kyle Meinke)
  • Lions QB Jared Goff said it’s ok to him if the team drafts a quarterback: “It’d be fine. It’s their decision, man. It’s up to them, and whatever they want to do. Ultimately I’m still under contract and still going to be here playing, and feel pretty good about my standing with them and where I’m at.” (Meinke)
  • Goff added he loved working with Lynn: “The way he handled himself the whole season is remarkable and truly professional. We really do appreciate it because he could, if he wanted to, have a bad attitude and he didn’t, and it was really cool to see from him.” (Eric Woodyard)


Packers OL David Bakhtiari said he wasn’t sure if he was going to play in week 18 until QB Aaron Rodgers texted him.

“I’ve played in more than enough games, played in a bunch of playoff games, didn’t really feel the need,” Bakhtiari said, via Matt Schneidman. “But when he texted me, I was like, ‘All right, I’ll see how it goes in practice.’ I liked how it was in practice … I didn’t exactly want to be on turf (at Ford Field), but I said, ‘Let’s do it; let’s go have fun.’ I’m out there, and I think it was more for him than for me.”

Rodgers added he was thrilled to have Bakhtiari back on the offensive line.

“It’s been a long year for him,” Rodgers said. “I’m just so proud of him to get back out there. … He’s been through so much. Obviously, being really close to him and having a lot of conversations with him, it’s been tough mentally, which is understandable, to think you’re coming back in Week 7 maybe, Week 8, have a setback and surgery.

“I thought it seemed like he was fantastic. I’m just really happy for him, the person. He’s a great person, and he makes our team better. Obviously, he’s an incredible player. To celebrate him and his happiness today is pretty special. Nothing like running out there and seeing The Big Giraffe.”

  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports Packers OLB Za’Darius Smith will return for the playoffs.
  • HC Matt LaFleur didn’t want to commit to Smith’s timetable: “We’ll see how he comes in on Wednesday, and if we can let him get back out on the practice field, we’ll let him go.” (Ryan Wood)
  • LaFleur was pleased with how Bakhtiari looked vs. Detroit: “He looked great. He moved well. There’s no substitute for football shape, and that takes time, but I thought he handled himself very well.” (Wood)


  • Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson reports the Vikings considered Rick Spielman for promotion as recently as December.
  • Vikings owner Mark Wilf said it was time for a leadership change: “We strongly believe we need new leadership to elevated our football team…we’re looking for strong leaders, communicators and collaborators.” (Courtney Cronin)
  • Wilf doesn’t believe the team needs a rebuild: “I wouldn’t classify it as that. … I believe we can be super competitive in 2022.” (Chad Graff)
  • Vikings QB Kirk Cousins said he hasn’t given any thought on whether he would agree to restructure his contract in order to reduce his $45m cap hit next season: “It’s hard to have these conversations when I haven’t given it any thought and don’t know any of those numbers. But I know that I want to be a Viking, and that’s kind of the foundation of it all. From there, it’s pretty easy to make those conversations happen when you want to be a Minnesota Viking.” (Cronin)
  • Wilf didn’t want to get into how Cousins’ contract impacted the team: “I don’t want to be, to use the phrase, a Monday morning quarterback on this situation because we have to look forward. We’re going to bring in the right people to help evaluate the answer to that question.” (Graff)

Looking for the latest NFL Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow NFL Trade Rumors on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NFL News and Rumors for all 32 teams!

Leave a Reply