NFC North News: Black and Blue All Over or Whatever It Was

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NFL training camp is winding down. We are less than two weeks from NFL football folks with the Chiefs hosting the Texans on Thursday September 10. Full slate of games starts September 13. Can’t wait. Roster cuts down to 53 are this Saturday. Let’s take a look at some NFC North news and camp battles.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings made the biggest boldest move in camp. Vikings traded for disgruntled and franchise tagged DE Yannick Ngakoue. Vikings gave up a 2nd round pick in 2021 and conditional 5th round pick in 2022. The pick becomes a 4th round pick if Ngakoue makes the pro-bowl and 3rd round pick if the Vikings win the Superb Owl. Yeah right. It’s a 4th or 5th rounder most likely.

Yannick agreed to a pay cut and will earn 12 million instead of the 17.3 million franchise tag. This means the Vikings could tag him again next year. Danielle Hunter has been hurt most of camp and Everson Griffen left to play for Dallas. This move makes sense but the Vikings are tight against the cap now. They made need a restructure to drop to 53 players and add 16 practice squad/IR players.

Ngakoue has 37.5 sacks in 4 seasons with 8, 12, 9.5 and 8 sacks from 2016-2019.  He earned the 34th ranked grade out of 103 with good pass rush and average run defense. Good addition for the Vikings but they need to figure out how to sign him long term with a tight cap.

Green Bay Packers

5th round pick Kamel Martin might be the new ILB next to Christian Kirksey.

Lane Taylor could win starting RG spot over Billy Turner. Turner battling Rick Wagner at right tackle too. Turner was a big free agent signing in 2019 but the Packers will put the best 5 on the field. Taylor took a pay cut to stay with Green Bay.

Rashan Gary looks to take a big leap in year 2.

Kenny Clark got a huge 4 year 66 million dollar extension. Cap hits of 6.69 million in 2020, 7.1 in 2021, 20.65 in 2022, 21.25 in 2023 and 22 million in 2024 in the next five seasons. Clark young and signed through 2024 in his prime. Very good signing and backloaded due to the COVID cap situation for 2021.

Will Aaron Jones or Kevin King be extended too?

Chicago Bears

Bears QB battle still raging on between Trubisky and Foles. They won’t name a starter until week 1.

Artie Burns got hurt which opens the door for rookie 2nd round pick Jaylon Johnson to start.

Chicago will run much more nickel and less standard 3-4 looks.

David Montgomery got hurt (groin) and will miss 2-4 weeks. Big blow to the Bears running game if he misses time to start year 2 of his career.

Detroit Lions

Jamal Agnew impressing well at WR after a position change. Position change should help him. Agnew still an all pro returner. Quintez Cephus, Marvin Jones and Golladay have looked great with Stafford.

Year 2 of Darrell Bevell offense looking great as does Stafford fully healthy.

Rookie 3rd round pick Jonah Jackson has looked good and a lock to start at RG. Joe Dahl should start at LG over veterans Oday Aboushi and Kenny Wiggins. 4th round rookie Logan Stenberg has been backup center and LG. Beau Benschawel gets a shot at backup center as well. Hal Vaitai has been a monster at RT and Decker a rock at LT.

Romeo Okwara rebounding to 2018 form at DE. Hand back and looking good at DT.

Lions have RB injuries with DeAndre Swift and Bo Scarborough missing extended time. Ty Johnson has done well in their absence and Kerryon Johnson still the lead back. Johnathan Williams from the Colts gets a chance to be the power back. Williams has some experience and two 100 yards games from 2019.

Jamie Collins setting the example at LB and Jahlani Tavai playing all over 3 LBs spots. Austin Bryant on PUP opening the door for rookie 3rd round pick Julian Okwara at JACK LB. Jarrad Davis good in run defense but continues to struggle in coverage.

Rookie Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye have both looked good in camp. They are battling to start opposite Desmond Trufant.

No extensions yet for Taylor Decker, Matt Prater or Kenny Golladay.

Football is close folks. I can taste it.