NFC Notes: Bears, Packers, Vikings



The Bears struggled for a lot of reasons on offense in 2019. Bears RB Tarik Cohen said that not only were they trying too hard to be creative at times, but admitted that he let his personal fitness lapse more than in prior years. As Cohen and Chicago look to move forward, he’s redoubled his efforts to take care of his body in 2020. 

“I’ve been doing yoga now, stretching more often and just like the small training room — in-house things you do to keep your body durable,” Cohen said via NBC Sports’ Bryan Perez. “And to keep the wear-and-tear of the season off of you longer. I really slacked on that. I always had older guys that would keep me on that, keep me in line.”


Despite being one of the NFL’s leading tacklers for the past few seasons, the Packers never expressed much interest in bringing back LB Blake Martinez this offseason. For his part, Martinez seemed to be happy for a new start, saying the scheme in Green Bay under DC Mike Pettine didn’t put him in the best position to make plays. Martinez’s replacement, Packers LB Christian Kirksey, didn’t necessarily agree with his predecessor’s assessment. 

“Just looking at the playbook, I think there are plays out there for the Mike,” Kirksey said via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “Blake maybe just wanted to do a little bit more because he feels like he’s capable of fitting in other ways. As for me, I enjoy the position. Playing in it my first two years, seeing guys like Karlos Dansby [in that] role, I saw the plays that he made.”

Kirksey played for Pettine in Cleveland for two years, so he has some experience in the system already. He made it clear he wasn’t knocking Martinez’s ability or his opinion, but he does feel confident in his ability to play in Green Bay’s defense. 

“Sometimes, it’s the NFL, you’ve got to go make plays you might not be expected to make. You have to take chances sometimes,” Kirksey said. “Just looking at Blake’s film, I thought that he was making plays in the games. It showed. He was always in the top five in tackles. For him, he probably had some other goals. Not saying that the Mike position is the most glorified position … [but if] that’s how he feels, you’ve got to respect it. For me, I’m going and understanding that it’s my job, it’s what they want me to do, so I’m going to do it to the best of my ability.”


  • Per the Athletic’s Chad Graff, Vikings OC Gary Kubiak isn’t concerned about RB Dalvin Cook missing virtual OTAs during his holdout: “Dalvin could teach a class (on our system) — that’s how smart of a football player he is.”
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer points out with daily fines of $50,000, it would take just 27 days of a holdout for Cook to lose his entire 2020 salary. 
  • Kubiak is confident Cook’s contract situation won’t affect him or the team on the field: “It’s part of the business … professionals like him take care of themselves. … Those things take time.” (Andrew Krammer)
  • Kubiak said Vikings first-round WR Justin Jefferson is “exceptional” in the slot and it’s probably fair to expect him to “move inside quite a bit.” (Graff)
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