NFC Notes: Bears, Packers, Vikings


Bears LB Roquan Smith said it was unfortunate to see Khalil Mack get traded to the Chargers, but they must move on. 

“Hey, it sucks seeing one of your guys go, one of the leaders,” Smith said, via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “But hey, life goes on. I know he’s gonna do well out there in L.A. You know, a healthy Mack is a damn good player, as we all know.”

Bears DE Trevis Gipson said Mack’s trade “bothered me a little bit” because he’d learn from the veteran edge rusher. 

“It sort of bothered me a little bit because I stole a lot of information from him,” Gipson said. “Well, I hate to use the word ‘steal.’ But, yeah, I learned a lot from Khalil, man. He paved the way with a lot of things and showed me right from wrong. How to do certain techniques, how to carry myself as a vet in this league.”


  • Fresno State DL Kevin Atkins visited the Packers on Wednesday. (Aaron Wilson)


Vikings S Cameryn Bynum said that the early phase of minicamp allows players to “bounce ideas off of each other” in order to learn. 

“You’re able to kind of be your own players, be your own coaches,” Bynum said, via Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune. “We can talk about things and be able to say, ‘Hey, if I see this on this, let’s play it a certain way.’ There’s kind of a lot of freedom that we have on the defense. I think that just seems like the whole coaching staff right now; everything seems really free, and being able to bounce ideas off of each other, and be able to play football freely and basically learn and play with your teammate.”

Vikings’ new HC Kevin O’Connell said that Kirk Cousins is taking charge of his leadership role this offseason. 

“Obviously in a new system, somebody has got to take charge out there,” O’Connell said. “For us, that’s Kirk. He’s sitting front and center in every meeting, asking questions, both in the quarterback room and in front of the unit. He’s one of the guys I mentioned in the team meeting yesterday, speaking up and getting involved.”

O’Connell said that DE Danielle Hunter will be a “major, major factor” in their defensive system. 

“I think he’s learning a new defense. He’s learning how he’s going to fit, which he’s going to be a major, major factor in everything we do against the run and the pass,” O’Connell said. “I know he’s fired up. He looks great, is moving around great, and ultimately that will be another guy I’ll be keeping a close eye on when we get on the grass next week.”

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