NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Vikings


When Bears CB Artie Burns went down with a torn ACL, it left just CB Kevin Toliver as Chicago’s alternative at starting outside corner while they ease second-round CB Jaylon Johnson in. Ideally, Johnson would take over as the Bears No. 2 corner sooner rather than later. But the unique offseason and Johnson’s health coming off offseason shoulder surgery have complicated things. Eventually, the Bears will just bite the bullet. 

We’ve gotta get him out there,” Bears DC Chuck Pagano said via the Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain. “He’s just gotta play and he’s gotta compete. Right now, unfortunately, it’s not gonna be in preseason games. It’s gonna be in situational football, practice reps. If we have live periods, whatever that is, we’ve gotta see him play. And then it’s gonna be baptism under fire for all these young guys.”

  • Regarding the competition between Deon Bush and Tashaun Gipson for starting strong safety, Bears S coach Sean Desai says Gipson’s experience and size are flashing, while Bush is showing increased maturity. 
  • The Bears are limiting both starting OLB’s Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn with the goal of having them fully healthy and ready for Week 1, though LB coach Ted Monachino says he’d like to get them some live action in practice before then. 
  • The Athletic’s Adam Jahns notes Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky took a noticeable step forward in practice on Tuesday compared to Monday. Neither he nor QB Nick Foles were good on Monday. 
  • Bears OL coach Juan Castillo has been impressed with new G Germain Ifedi‘s work in practice against star DL Akiem Hicks. Ifedi is the leader to start at right guard: “If you’ve been watching practice … you know that Germain can match up with 96. He can match up with his quickness. He can match up with his size. He’s playing square. He’s using his hands. So I think it’s coming to practice and being able to block a guy like that consistently and I think that shows that he’s earned a starting job.”
  • Bears TE Jimmy Graham says he wants to play the rest of his career in Chicago: “I want to retire here. This is where I want to end it. And there’s only one way to end it.” (Dan Wiederer)


Retired WR Calvin Johnson said he hasn’t had any contact with the Lions organization regarding the $1.6 million they recouped from him after he called it a career.

“There’s no back and forth there,” said Johnson, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “That’s fine with me. I’m handling my business, I’m sure they’re handling theirs.”

Johnson said he still has a relationship with Lions WRs coach Robert Prince and added that he has spoken to the current receivers in Detroit. 

“I do have a relationship with R.P.,” Johnson said. “I do have a relationship with the receivers coach. Obviously, he was my coach when I finished up there, so yeah, we have a relationship. We’ll reach out and see how each other’s doing every now and then. Spoke to the receivers one time. It was good to speak to those guys.”

  • The Athletic’s Chris Burke notes Lions LB Jason Cabinda got some reps at fullback, building off a short stint he had at the position late last season. 
  • Burke added Lions RB Kerryon Johnson appeared to be a full participant in practice Thursday. 
  • The Lions brought in TE Cole Herdman for a workout on Tuesday. (Albert Breer)


  • The Athletic’s Arif Hasan writes first-round WR Justin Jefferson appears to be firmly on the second team, with WR Chad Beebe rotating the most with the first team in three-receiver sets. 
  • Per the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson, Vikings HC Mike Zimmer doesn’t think RB Dalvin Cook‘s contract situation will affect his performance: “I think we all understand that’s part of football.”
  • Vikings OC Gary Kubiak indicated the team is close to settling on a starting five along the offensive line but wants to discuss it this weekend: “I think we have a pretty good feel for our group.” (Chad Graff)
  • The leader to start at left guard might be Vikings G Dakota Dozier, as Kubiak told reporters “Dakota is in a very good place,” is doing a “hell of a job” and is “heading in the right direction.” (Tomasson)

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