NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Vikings

     

Bears

Their offensive woes tend to dominate the discourse around the Bears. But the defense has sprung a few leaks of late, including just one sack in the past two games. Star Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack says that’s “something that I take personally.”

“I’m not worried about my stats,” Mack said via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “My game speaks for itself. It’s not really about me. I want to win. I know they’re going to come when they come and that’s always going to be my mindset — to do everything I can to help this team win games. Obviously getting to the quarterback is what I’m here for, and I definitely have to do that.”

Lions

Lions QBs coach Sean Ryan said he does not sense any “frustration” from veteran QB Matthew Stafford with his future in Detroit being in question. 

“I think he’s coming into it, like, ‘All right, what do I need to do to do my job better?'” Ryan said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “And quite frankly, that’s kind of what we all need to be asking right now, and just put our heads down and go to work and make it about the next five weeks. So I don’t see frustration, I see resolve, and I see the want-to of moving forward for the next five weeks.”

Ryan avoided speculating on Stafford’s standing with the organization past 2020. 

“Honestly, we don’t get involved in that stuff,” Ryan said. “You can’t. Obviously, I have a very, very high opinion of Matthew Stafford and his ability to play quarterback, and right now it’s for the Detroit Lions and that’s really all I know. I don’t make much of the talk, to be honest with you. It’s nothing that I need to get involved in or want to be a part of, so I just stay away from it.”

  • Lions interim HC Darrell Bevell said second-round RB D’Andre Swift is closer to returning but his path through the concussion protocol has been a little up and down. (Michael Rothstein)

Vikings

Vikings OC Gary Kubiak said RB Dalvin Cook (ankle) is “just beat up” at this point in the season.

He’s just beat up. He’s been hit pretty hard the last couple of weeks taking some poundings .. It’s at that point of the season so we’ve got to get him freshened up this week & get him back to being himself .. He’s just kind of beat up,” said Kubiak, per Chris Tomasson

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer says he’s heard Vikings HC Mike Zimmer‘s contract extension pays him more than $8 million a year. He adds he doesn’t get the sense Zimmer’s job is in danger despite some rumors last year. 
  • Despite a shaky start, Vikings QB Kirk Cousins has solidified his standing with the organization and should be the team’s starting quarterback in 2021, per the Athletic’s Chad Graff
  • Graff adds Vikings ST coordinator Marwan Malouf is likely working to keep his job over the final quarter of the season given how bad Minnesota’s special teams have been. 
  • Graff thinks if everyone was healthy the Vikings’ top three cornerbacks would be third-round rookie Cameron Dantzler and Holton Hill on the outside with first-round rookie Jeff Gladney in the slot. 
  • Zimmer reiterated Wednesday that Cook is fine: “His health is fine. We’ll just keep going and try to be smart about how we use him.” (Graff)
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