NFC Notes: Lions, Packers, Vikings

     

Lions

The Lions selected CB Jeff Okudah with the No. 3 overall pick anticipating an instant-impact rookie year. Instead, Okudah struggled through growing pains and injury pains, finishing the season on injured reserve. He’ll look to bounce back in 2021 in hopefully a much better defensive environment. 

“I think that for me it was really hard to come to the terms that just not playing to the standard of the city of Detroit and what they expect to see out there,” Okudah said via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. “I think going forward, definitely have that on my mind and definitely something that is really going to fuel my hunger this offseason. Not necessarily trying to prove everyone wrong, just trying to prove a lot of people right.”

  • According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, three other teams are interested in interviewing Lions interim HC Darrell Bevell for their head coaching vacancies. 
  • Lions team president Rod Wood said the team hasn’t ruled out hiring a head coach before a general manager: “What we’re really looking for is people who can work together and be partners, not one working for the other necessarily.” (Chris Burke)

Packers

  • Per the Athletic’s Matt Schneidman, the play of journeyman TE Dominique Dafney is concerning for Packers 2019 third-round TE Jace Sternberger.
  • Sternberger has been out with a concussion but Dafney has already thrived in some areas as Green Bay’s pass-catching tight end that Sternberger was struggling in.
  • Schneidman adds Packers fifth-round LB Kamal Martin has also been overtaken by a less-heralded player, as UDFA LB Krys Barnes has looked much better than Martin of late. 

Vikings

  • Per ESPN’s Courtney Cronin, Vikings HC Mike Zimmer confirmed OC Gary Kubiak is considering retirement: “He’s taking some time to mentally think about the season and think about where he’s at health-wise and then he’ll decide.”
  • Zimmer didn’t offer many hints about Kubiak’s potential successor if he does walk away but did say he liked the scheme Minnesota ran this year: “I will say this. I love the scheme we’re running offensively. I love the wide zone and the play-action offense.” (Chad Graff)
  • Zimmer mentioned Vikings DE Danielle Hunter is doing well in his rehab and on track to return in 2021: “He’s doing well. He’s on track for wherever he’s supposed to be. I know he thinks he’s going to be able to come back and be better than he was before.” (Graff)
  • A lack of experience was an issue on defense this past year, but Zimmer noted the cap might prevent them from bringing in a lot of veterans: “We’re going to look at everything. Obviously, salary cap could be an issue.” (Chris Tomasson)
  • Vikings ST coordinator Marwan Malouf was in the final year of his deal and won’t be brought back, per Zimmer. (Andrew Krammer)
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