NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Vikings

     

Bears

  • The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain predicts Bears WR Anthony Miller will be the team’s breakout player in 2020 and establish himself as an impact starter if he can stay healthy. 
  • ESPN ranked the Bears No. 31 in their power rankings for the next three years, as their front office has made a number of questionable decisions and is paying the price at quarterback in particular. 
  • The battle between QBs Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles and the resulting level of play will decide a lot about the future of the team. 

Lions

  • The Athletic’s Chris Burke writes Lions RB Ty Johnson is competing with a number of other players, including RB Wes Hills, seventh-round RB Jason Huntley and converted safety Jamal Agnew, for the fourth running back spot on the roster. 
  • While he’s still productive, Lions WR Marvin Jones is entering the final year of his contract and just turned 30, which Burke says makes him a potential in-season trade candidate. 
  • Burke adds there’s a number of receivers battling for the final spot or two on the roster, including Agnew, Marvin Hall, Geronimo Allison, Chris Lacy, Travis Fulgham, Tom Kennedy and Geremy Davis
  • Allison was signed in free agency as veteran insurance for the No. 4 job, Hall averaged over 37 yards per catch in 2019, Lacy impressed in camp last year, Fulgham was a draft pick in 2019 and both Kennedy and Davis can bring value on special teams. 
  • If Lions TE Jesse James doesn’t establish himself as a bigger part of the passing game, Burke expects Detroit to part ways with him in 2021 given his salary. 
  • Burke says Lions TE Isaac Nauta should be able to lock up the third tight end slot, with UDFA TE Hunter Bryant in position to challenge for a roster berth as well. 
  • Burke notes Lions LT Taylor Decker improved a lot in 2019 and is in a good position to earn a contract extension entering the final year of his rookie deal in 2020. 
  • While Lions G Joe Dahl is the favorite to start at left guard, Burke thinks he’ll end up rotating with another player at some point this season. At right guard, Burke highlights third-round G Jonah Jackson as the likely favorite to start. 
  • Burke sees the practice squad as the best bet for players like OL Beau Benzschawel, G Joshua Garnett, OT Dan Skipper, OT Matt Nelson and G Caleb Benenoch to stick around. 
  • Burke lists Lions DE Austin Bryant and DT John Penisini as the leaders to be the last ones on the roster at their position groups. 
  • If Lions LB Jarrad Davis can’t improve in coverage, the only role left for him might be as a situational pass rusher given Detroit’s other additions, per Burke. 
  • Both Lions LBs Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Miles Killebrew are strong special teamers, but Detroit is deep in that area, so there will be stiff competition to make the roster. 
  • Per Burke, the Lions believe first-round CB Jeffrey Okudah can make a swift transition to the NFL even without the benefit of a lot of practice time. 
  • Burke says Lions CB Darryl Roberts‘ experience could help him solidify a spot as the team’s fourth corner in 2020. 
  • According to the NFLPA, the Lions are one of eight teams to have their Infectious Disease Emergency Response plan approved by both the NFL and NFLPA. The other 24 are submitted and are being reviewed. 

Vikings

  • The Athletic’s Arif Hasan notes Vikings HC Mike Zimmer‘s multi-year extension doesn’t necessarily lock in job security beyond this season, though it does make it more likely. 
  • Hasan points out former Vikings HC Leslie Frazier had his option year exercised in February of 2013 and was fired later that year, while former HC Brad Childress signed a multi-year extension in November, 2009, and was fired about 12 months later. 
  • With the NFL expected to keep roster sizes at 80 players, Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune points out that the Vikings currently have 87 players and must cut seven.
  • Krammer writes that the downside of the NFL lacking preseason games is it minimizes opportunities for undrafted free agents to land opportunities like FB C.J. Ham from 2016 and WR Adam Thielen in 2013. 
  • Adam Schefter reports that the Minnesota Vikings’ ownership of Zygi Wilf, Mark Wilf, and Leonard Wilf, has emerged as a “serious candidate” to purchase the Minnesota Timberwolves NBA franchise. 
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