NFC Notes: Lions, Packers, Vikings, Kirk Cousins


  • According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the Lions are expected to begin negotiations with TE T.J. Hockenson on a contract extension at some point this summer.
  • The Athletic’s Colton Pouncy thinks there’s a good chance the Lions can finish with six wins, maybe more, in their second season under HC Dan Campbell. The ripple effect from that will be where they finish in the draft order, as it could impact their ability to draft a successor to Jared Goff.
  • However, Pouncy adds the Lions will have a second first-round pick from the Rams, which will probably be somewhere in the 20s or higher, which they can use to trade up potentially. 


Packers WR Amari Rodgers feels that his rookie year in the NFL had a large mental and physical impact on him towards the end of the season. However, the receiver feels rejuvenated this offseason. 

“It’s the longest season I ever played,” Rodgers said, via Alberto Camargo of Knoxville News Sentinel. “I didn’t really have a break, it was like two years straight of football. So you know, I feel like it kind of took a toll on me mentally and physically towards the end of the year. I’ve had an offseason to actually take care of my body, get my body right. So I feel like I’m back to myself.”

Rodgers compared last season to “being a freshman” in college and having to learn Green Bay’s system. 

“It’s kind of like being a freshman all over again,” Rodgers said. “You’ve got to learn the ins and outs of the offense. And Aaron Rodgers has his own offense, so you have to learn two offenses basically. so just getting acclimated to the speed of the game took some time.”

Now Rodgers is hoping that experience helps him take advantage of what will be a big opportunity in 2022. Green Bay will be looking for wideouts who can step up and fill the void left from the departure of WR Davante Adams and his nearly 170 targets. 

“The room is wide open,” Rodgers said. “I’m showing that I can play any position and that I know the playbook and (coaches) can trust me, no matter what situation.”


Former Vikings LB Ben Leber has had a front-row seat to the Vikings for a few years now as a sideline reporter for the team. He has a lot of optimism for the 2022 season in Minnesota because of the change from Mike Zimmer to Kevin O’Connell at head coach. While the roster is largely the same, Leber believes O’Connell will set the offense and most importantly QB Kirk Cousins up for success more. 

“I think he’s gonna finally thrive, really thrive, in a system and a coach that actually respects him,” Leber said via Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio. “I mean, it’s not like I’m not breaking news here that Mike Zimmer did not like Kirk Cousins. And I think that showed in the way that Kirk behaved and the way that he carried himself. The team was never given to him, or he was never allowed to earn the trust of the team, because the head coach I think just didn’t like him.”

While Zimmer is a highly-regarded defensive mine, Leber pointed out the team had struggled the past two seasons on that side of the ball while their end-of-year numbers with Cousins have been strong. 

“That was a top-10 offense last year, with a very green, first-time offensive coordinator [Klint Kubiak],” Leber said. “Where was their defense ranked last year? Thirty-first. The year before that, I think they were ranked 27th. So people can rail on Kirk and rail on this offense and say we can’t win with him or we can’t win with this offense. I say that’s total BS. We couldn’t win with the crap defense that we’ve had the last two years. We couldn’t stop the run, at all. Ever. And then in key moments of the games . . . we couldn’t stop any two-minute offense. So, to me, the biggest liability of this team has been defense. All this team has to do is play good team defense, finish in the mid-teens at the end of the season, and they’re playoff bound and they can make some noise.”

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