NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Vikings


It’s pretty obvious by how hard the Bears are shopping the No. 1 pick but Bears GM Ryan Poles confirmed it anyway: the team is not looking to draft a replacement for QB Justin Fields. Instead, the team hopes to build on the promise he showed in 2022, with Poles acknowledging he has a long way to go still in some areas but overall the future is too bright to not move forward with Fields. 

“When we started to adjust and adapt to what he did well, and he started running the ball a little bit, we saw a very unique and special ability and talent that can change the game,” Poles said via NBC Sports’ Peter King. “Now that next piece in terms of being an efficient passer is what we need to get to. I’ve been open about that. We’ve talked about it with Justin. He knows … Can he be more clear-minded when he plays, where he can just play loose because he knows where he’s gonna go with the ball? I do think there’s potential that we have something really good, and to me, you’ve got to see it through.”

  • The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain and Adam Jahns talked to some scouts who questioned whether the Bears would still be willing to draft Georgia DT Jalen Carter after his arrest: “He could be Aaron Donald. or he could be Albert Haynesworth.”
  • 49ers RT Mike McGlinchey came up at the Combine as a potential free agent target for the Bears, as he fits their system, but a big question will be the price. McGlinchey is a solid if not spectacular tackle who could end up making spectacular money, perhaps as much as $17-$20 million a year per one source from Jahns and Fishbain: “They’ll want to set the market.”
  • Jahns and Fishbain point out the Bears have a connection to Falcons RT Kaleb McGary as well, as OL coach Chris Morgan worked with him as a rookie. 
  • They add if the Bears want to address their need for a pass-rushing defensive tackle in free agency, Broncos DT Dre’Mont Jones is someone to keep in mind. He won’t be cheap, though. 
  • Another potential free agent target, per Jahns and Fishbain, is Colts LB Bobby Okereke, who a lot of the defensive coaching staff knows from Indianapolis. 


The Lions are still waiting to see the potential that prompted them to take DT Levi Onwuzurike in the second round of the 2021 draft. A back injury has derailed his career so far and unfortunately for him and Detroit, it appears to be something he’s still dealing with. Lions HC Dan Campbell said Onwuzurike is still rehabbing and might not be available for the start of the offseason program in April. 

“Levi’s still progressing,” Campbell said via’s Kyle Meinke. “He’s continued to rehab. I saw him at the facility right before I left, so he’s right on track and we’ll see where it goes.”

”He’s still on his rehab track,” Campbell added. “We’ll just kind of see how it goes. But we’ll be smart with it.”


  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler says it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Vikings and WR Adam Thielen opted for a fresh start this offseason. They’ve been in talks on ways to reduce his $20 million cap hit in 2023 and the veteran wasn’t thrilled about his targets going down this past season. 
  • If the Vikings cut Thielen, Fowler would expect them to be in the market for another receiver this offseason in free agency or potentially via trade. 
  • Other veterans who have uncertain futures in Minnesota due to their cap hits include LB Eric Kendricks and S Harrison Smith, per Fowler. He adds they’re candidates for restructures, pay cuts or even being released. However, his sense is that Smith should be back one way or another. 
  • Kendricks was released on Monday, however. 
  • According to USA Today’s Laurie Fitzpatrick, Tulane RB Tyjae Spears had formal Combine interviews with at least half a dozen teams, including the Vikings. 
  • Notre Dame DE Isaiah Foskey had an interview at the Combine with the Vikings. (Patrick Engel)
  • Ole Miss RB Zach Evans had a formal Combine interview with the Vikings. (Tom Downey)
  • Michigan C Olu Oluwatimi had a formal Combine interview with the Vikings (Tom Downey)
  • UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson had a formal Combine interview with the Vikings. (Tom Downey)
  • Alabama CB Eli Ricks had a formal Combine interview with the Vikings. (Tom Downey)
  • The Vikings were one of the teams to have a formal meeting with Georgia TE Darnell Washington. (MJ Hurley)
  • Matt Zenitz reports the Vikings are expected to hire Western Kentucky OLB coach Michael Hutchings as an assistant LB coach.

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