NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings


  • Bears’ HC Matt Nagy mentioned LB Khalil Mack‘s injury and said the team did not believe it to be a serious issue: “More than anything, it’s precautionary. I don’t think it’s anything we’re real concerned about.” (Kevin Fishbain)
  • QUESTIONABLE for Week 13: QB Nick Foles (hip), DT Akiem Hicks (hamstring), G Germain Ifedi (calf), T Charles Leno (toe), LB Khalil Mack (back), WR Darnell Mooney (knee), WR Allen Robinson (knee), LB James Vaughters (knee), LB Josh Woods (foot)


  • The Athletic’s Chris Burke and Nick Baumgardner write that Lions QB Matthew Stafford is probably back in 2021 but there’s no way to say for sure until a new coach and general manager are hired. 
  • Both think Lions backup QB Chase Daniel is a strong candidate to be a cap casualty, potentially with a June 1 designation. No. 2 TE Jesse James falls in this category as well. 
  • Burke and Baumgardner write that RB Adrian Peterson was a one-year rental and is likely gone after 2020. 
  • Lions fifth-round WR Quintez Cephus is the only wideout guaranteed to be back given he’s on a rookie deal, per the two. They add the team should want WR Kenny Golladay back, potentially on the franchise tag, but it’s hard to say for certain. Veteran WRs Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola likely won’t be brought back. 
  • Burke and Baumgardner write OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai‘s salary is too onerous to get out of this offseason and the Lions likely give him another year. Another priority for the team will be negotiating an extension with C Frank Ragnow
  • Burke and Baumgardner say the Lions could almost completely clean house at linebacker except for Jamie Collins, and if they find a trade partner they’d probably dump him too. Jarrad Davis, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Reggie Ragland are on expiring deals and Christian Jones is a cut candidate. 
  • The secondary is also a place where major changes could occur, with CBs Desmond Trufant and Justin Coleman potentially on the chopping block, according to Burke and Baumgardner.
  • OUT for Week 13: WR Kenny Golladay (hip), DE Da’Shawn Hand (groin), CB Jeff Okudah (shoulder)
  • QUESTIONABLE for Week 13: DE Austin Bryant (thigh), QB Matthew Stafford (right thumb), RB D’Andre Swift (illness), S Tracy Walker (not injury related)


New Packers WR/KR Tavon Austin said he is grateful for his new opportunity in Green Bay after being released from the 49ers with an injury settlement back in October. 

I’m thankful,” Austin said, via Steve Megargee of the Associated Press. “One thing I can say is I’m thankful. It’s been a long road for me through my injuries. It’s been a long road for somebody just really trusting in me.”

Austin believes he is still capable of running a 4.3 in the 40-yard dash. 

“I’m still explosive,” Austin said. “If anything, I’m still 4.3. If I ain’t 4.2 no more, I know I’m 4.3. I felt like my workout spoke for itself how explosive I was and things like that.”

Packers HC Matt LaFleur said Austin is still a “very explosive” player. 

“He’s very explosive,” LaFleur said. “I love the way he works and just the energy he brings all the time. We’ve got to get him kind of acclimated to what we’re doing and how we call things. … So we’ll just see where he’s at and kind of evaluate it and take it day by day.”

  • Packers HC Matt LaFleur said he is “not overly concerned” about OLB Za’Darius Smith‘s lingering ankle injury but they are monitoring him ahead of Week 13: “I’m not overly concerned about it. It’s something he’s been battling through all season. Some days are better than others, and we’ll see where he’s at on Sunday.” (Rob Demovsky)
  • LaFleur is optimistic that Packers WR/RB Tyler Ervin (rib) will play in Week 13
  • Tom Silverstein notes that this likely means the Packers won’t have to use recently signed WR Tavon Austin in Sunday’s game, or they could deploy him in “very specific packages.” 
  • The Packers worked out three centers on Friday including Anthony Fabiano, Nico Falah, and Sean Pollard. (Rob Demovsky)
  • OUT for Week 13: C Corey Linsley (knee)
  • QUESTIONABLE for Week 13: LB Krys Barnes (calf), RB Tyler Ervin (ribs), LB Za’Darius Smith (ankle)


  • Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune expects Vikings WR Chad Beebe to continue as their punt return specialist in Week 13. 
  • Krammer points out that Vikings WR Tajae Sharpe only playing in seven snaps last week was “not a good sign” given WR Adam Thielen was out. Krammer believes Sharpe, who is an impending free-agent, would be better off moving on next year. 
  • OUT for Week 13: TE Irv Smith (back), DE D.J. Wonnum (ankle, back)

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