NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings

     

Bears

  • The Athletic’s Adam Jahns believes Bears G Germain Ifedi is the heavy favorite to win the competition to start at right guard. However, his colleague Kevin Fishbain says not to rule out Rashaad Coward, who started 10 games after converting positions and didn’t look out of place. 
  • Free-agent S Tashaun Gipson is also a strong favorite to start ahead of Deon Bush at strong safety, though the Bears didn’t promise him a starting spot after signing him. 
  • The two also think second-round CB Jaylon Johnson could be thrown in right away as the No. 2 corner, though if the team wants to be patient with the rookie they could turn to Kevin Toliver
  • Fishbain believes by the end of the season, Bears WRs Ted Ginn and Riley Ridley will lead the rest of the group at receiver in snaps behind Chicago’s top two. 

Lions

Lions’ veteran LB Jarrad Davis said he completed a 20-week training and nutrition program that produced 20 pounds of muscle. 

“I ate super clean and I just really pushed my body to a limit that hasn’t been in a, ever, really,” Davis said, via Justin Rogers of The Detroit News. “My body has never felt this good. Through those 20 weeks, there were a lot of two-a-days. It took a lot of hard work. A lot of pushing myself to the point where I want to quit almost every single day, and still being resilient, being mentally sharp and focused, and just having the ability to push through the workouts.” 

Davis said he is excited to play alongside LB Jamie Collins and called the veteran a “dominant rusher”. 

“Ever since he was in New England the first time, and still, like he’s just been super athletic, man,” Davis said. “(He’s) just able to do so many things, been making plays in the passing game, dominant rusher. Just watching him, he’s super fluid in his movement. Everything. Seeing that guy play is definitely somebody I was like, ‘I hope I can make plays like this.”

Packers

With rookie QB Jordan Love waiting in the wings, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is focused on learning new plays from HC Matt LaFleur for the upcoming season.

“The verbiage is definitely coming a little easier for me at this point than it was last year,” Rodgers said, via Jim Owczarski of PackersNews.com. “It was a good offseason of Zoom meetings for us, just kind of going through the installs and talking about what we like and what we want to take out and how we want to adjust things. I appreciate that about Matt — the working relationship that we have, there’s a lot of great conversations. And it’s fun having (offensive coordinator Nathaniel) Hackett in there and (passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Luke) Getsy and I feel like we went through the entire playbook this offseason. We obviously had a lot of time, we filled it up with a lot of football conversations I think are going to pay dividends to come the season.”

With Love now on the roster,  Rodgers has said he may finish his career elsewhere and said he wants to savor his time spent in Green Bay.

“Well, I think in general, as you get older, you do enjoy the little moments just a tad bit more. And like I’ve said before, a lot of the relationships that are still here are with … the training room guys, the equipment staff, (director of performance nutrition) Adam (Korzun) and his staff, people who’ve been here a long time and probably will be here long after my time is gone here. But that’s where a lot of the memories, you start talking about things from the 2000s to 2010 era — those five years, six years when I was here — there’s not that many people still around who can relate to some of those stories. And that’s the way the business goes. It’s a short-term deal and guys like myself who are lucky enough to play a long time with the same team, it’s those relationships that you savor and you appreciate; I’ve found a lot of joy in those friendships over the years.”

Rodgers also told the media that he did not consider opting out of this season but he respects anyone who makes that decision.

“I did not consider it. I was always gonna play. I respect any person who decides to opt-out. There’s a lot of different circumstances around, I’m sure, each individual case. I know Geronimo Allison, I saw he recently opted out (in Detroit). I know he has a young child. It’s just a different year, and I respect all those guys who decided to make that decision, even Devin Funchess. We had a conversation before training camp started and he talked to me before it had kind of gone public. I just told him I respect his decision. I have a lot of appreciation for how difficult that must be to weigh the love of playing with football with the safety of your family. So I have an appreciation for that and absolutely zero judgment.”

Vikings 

Vikings GM Rick Spielman says that the Vikings are continuing to negotiate with RB Dalvin Cook and his agent. Cook is set to make $1.331 million in 2020, the final year of his four-year rookie deal.

“I know how important Dalvin Cook is, and I know we’ve been working closely with his agent, and we’ll continue to work to try to see if there’s a deal that we feel is not only fair to Dalvin, but fair to us,” Spielman said, via Chris Tomasson of Pioneer Press. “I can’t predict the future, so I just know where we’re at now, and we’re working extremely hard with him and his agent on trying to come to a common place where we can get him locked up.”

  • Vikings OT Brian O’Neill says 2019 fourth-round G Dru Samia has matured quite a bit since last year: “Anyone in the building would tell you he’s a lot more aware of what he needs to do.” (Chad Graff)
  • Vikings OC Gary Kubiak says the starting right guard spot is wide open but “those things will take care of themselves.” (Chris Tomasson)
  • Kubiak adds he has “big expectations for Dru.” (Tomasson)
  • Kubiak told reporters Vikings OT Riley Reiff will stay at left tackle while second-round OL Ezra Cleveland has been working at guard during walkthroughs so far. (Graff)
  • Cleveland has been working with the second team at guard, per Kubiak: “We felt like we should start somewhere he wasn’t getting a lot of reps.” (Courtney Cronin)
  • Kubiak suggested Vikings G Pat Elflein remains the starter at left guard for now. (Cronin)
  • Vikings WR Davion Davis declined to say what the Vikings told him on why he was waived, but notes he will stay in Minnesota: “I’m just focused on training and staying in shape. I’m going to be up here training, going to various high school fields.” (Tomasson)
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