NFC Notes: Lions, Packers, Vikings


  • The Athletic’s Chris Burke thinks the Lions will be open to using their second first-round pick from the Rams or their pick at the top of the second round on a quarterback if they think he can push to start in 2022 or 2023. Otherwise, they’ll just wait a year to address the position and roll with Jared Goff
  • Burke also doesn’t see Detroit addressing the backup quarterback position beyond re-signing either Tim Boyle or David Blough
  • The Lions could lose secondary coach Aubrey Pleasant this offseason as he could draw defensive coordinator interest from another team, per Burke.
  • Lions RB D’Andre Swift said he still wants to return this year despite the team’s losing record: “I love the game so much and any opportunity I have, whether its two games, one game, losing record, winning record, I’m gonna do my best to step my foot out there and play for my teammates, for my brothers.” (Eric Woodyard)
  • Lions DE Charles Harris spoke about his interest in re-signing with Detroit in free agency after having his best career season in 2021: “I’m looking for stability, and a coaching staff and a team and players around me that trust me, and that I trust. Does Detroit have that? Without a doubt.” (Kyle Meinke)
  • Lions DC Aaron Glenn praised the performance by LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin last week, adding that he will have a chance to be the starter despite being a free agent this offseason: “Anytime you have a player of that magnitude, you can’t help but put him on the field. You can’t help but play him.” (Burke)
  • The Lions brought in DB Dee Alford for a visit. (Aaron Wilson)


Packers QB Aaron Rodgers said retirement is a possibility after the season depending on how this year goes.

“I wouldn’t rule that out,” Rodgers said, via Ryan Wood. “I’m just enjoying this season for this season, and playing next year will definitely be in the thought process. One of the things that, obviously…wanting to not be a bum on the way out and still be able to play I think is important to me.If this year has taught me anything, it’s that I can still play. I’m still super competitive, and still enjoy the process of the week”

  • According to CBS Sports analyst and former agent Joel Corry, Packers WR Davante Adams is a franchise tag candidate this offseason. It would be $20.12 million based on a 20 percent raise off his 2021 cap figure. 
  • Rodgers said his relationship with GM Brian Gutekunst has improved: “I’ve enjoyed being a part of conversations that directly affect my job, which I talked about in the offseason, and Brian’s taken the lead in that. And I do appreciate the way our relationship has grown.” (Matt Schneidman)
  • Packers HC Matt Lafleur told the media that strength of trust was a factor in the relationship between himself and Rodgers: “There are definitely moments we can disagree, but I think there’s enough trust, love, and respect that it’s OK. And that’s how you grow in any relationship.” (Ryan Wood)
  • LaFleur said DL Kingsley Keke was inactive last Saturday due to a “total personal thing that we were going through.” (Matt Schneidman)
  • Packers CB Jaire Alexander is unlikely to play this week despite being activated, according to LaFleur: “I would say it’s a longer-term view unless something drastically changes in the next couple of days.” (Rob Demovsky)


NFL players have largely escaped some of the more severe ramifications of COVID-19 that have hit other portions of the population. But Vikings G Dakota Dozier is one of the few players who’s had to be hospitalized from symptoms from the virus. At first, his situation was mild, but things eventually progressed to where he needed more medical care. 

“We have a little pulse oximeter because our daughter was born premature, and we like to check on her breathing and oxygen levels,” Dozier told ESPN’s Courtney Cronin. “We learned that it’s usually good to be above 94. I got down to an 80 … 80 is pretty far from 94. Had some difficulty breathing, was really shaking and just couldn’t fall asleep. I started coughing — probably a good 20 minutes with no more than 30 seconds between coughs. At that point I was like, I think I need to do something about this. I called [Vikings head trainer Eric Sugarman], I called Dr. Burns, and they said go to the hospital. I was feeling pretty bad. I felt confident that I would be all right, but I knew I couldn’t continue to care for myself. I knew I needed more help.”

Dozier added even after he was released from the hospital after a short stay, it took him a while to get back into shape from the damage the virus had done to his lungs. He lost 10 pounds and couldn’t make it from his room to the car without being out of breath at first. 

“My lungs, the pneumonia aspect of it, I think it really took a toll on me,” he said. “As an athlete, you’re always training, you’re always on the go, year-round you’re always doing something. But to be sedentary for that amount of time is something my body just really isn’t used to. On top of being ill, it really took my conditioning away from me. It was kind of eye-opening in that regard, like man, if I don’t stay in my routine, this is what could happen.”

Dozier is vaccinated and credits that decision in helping things not turn out worse. 

“It’s definitely brought into perspective how serious this virus is. That’s what I’ve talked with a lot of people about,” Dozier said. “Some people have literally no symptoms. For some people it’s a cold. Some people are closer to my end, and other people are being put on ventilators. To watch it have the impact that it’s had, I’m thankful that we’ve taken precautions, and I’m really glad there’s a vaccine, and it’s totally up to people if they want to get it. It’s your option. Thankful that everything went well. All my family was good. Obviously, I was hospitalized for three days, but everybody else turned out really good.”

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