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Around the NFC North training camps: Every team is awesome

A look around the NFC North to get a sense of the optimism for the Lions’ rivals.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings-Training Camp Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

While we obsess over every little detail coming out of Detroit Lions camp, 31 other NFL fanbases are currently doing the same with their respective teams. Each team is fawning over their new rookies and crowning their own decisions on incoming free agents. Youngsters around the league are entering camp “fitter than ever” while savvy veterans are helping the novices around.

But no teams’ boasts are more important to the Lions than those of their rivals. So let’s take a peek into the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers camps to see if we can get a little espionage work going.

Chicago Bears

Bears fans are feeling pretty good about their chances of pulling themselves from the basement of the NFC North. Leading the excitement is free agent acquisition linebacker Danny Trevathan, who has been dominating camp thus far.

Via the Chicago Sun Times:

"Linebacker Danny Trevathan was the star of the first day of pads Saturday at Olivet Nazarene University. He burst through blockers to get to running back Jeremy Langford to snuff out a promising screen play. He quickly reached quarterback Jay Cutler on a blitz. And he cut through the offensive line on a stretch run to meet running back Jacquizz Rodgers behind the line of scrimmage. The best part? Trevathan did that on three consecutive plays."

Bears fans are also excited to see their first look at wide receiver Kevin White, who lost his rookie year to injury. White struggled in minicamp and OTAs, but has looked much better in the first week of training camp:

From CSN Chicago:

White was not done looking like anything but an inexperienced young player who’d missed his rookie season and virtually all of training camp with a stress fracture to his left leg. He made a twisting grab of another Cutler toss in the 7-on-7 drill, and later worked himself open on a broken play, making a sliding catch to save a pass from Cutler on the run.


PUP list: OLB Pernell McPhee, OL Amini Silatolu and WR Marquess Wilson.

Others: The Bears also had a scare with first-round draft pick Leonard Floyd, who was carted off the field in the Bears’ first practice. However, it turns out it was just an illness... But Leonard was shut down during Monday’s practice due to a shoulder injury. Additionally, starting guard Kyle Long has been sidelined from training camp after being spotted in a walking boot. He has since been moving around without the boot and is considered day-to-day.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are a team looking to take that extra step into NFC contender this year. At the front of the optimism line is the progression of Teddy Bridgewater. Like everyone at this time of year, Bridgewater has looked promising at camp:

However, like last season, the 2016 Vikings will be defined by their defense. As soon as the pads came on at practice, that became clear.

Via NFL Spin Zone:

Boy did the defense have themselves a day today. Mike Zimmer throws a bone towards the offensive line yesterday during his conference, the defensive line churns them into minced meat the follow day. The wide receivers have been looking like All-Pros versus the defensive backs, today the corners responded with some highlight interceptions and lock down coverage.


PUP list: DT Kenrick Ellis (already been activated), TE Rhett Ellison

Non-football injury/illness list: QB Taylor Heinicke, G Mike Harris

Others: Cordarrelle Patterson took a pretty big tumble on Monday:

He did not return to practice and will likely sit out a few more days, but it is not considered long-term.

Guard Mike Harris is suffering from a far more serious injury. Harris, listed on the NFI list above, is the team’s starting right guard, and his entire 2016 may be in question after a mysterious head injury. This would be a big blow to the Vikings’ offensive line, which already has a lot of questions to answer after a subpar year in 2015.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers have already completed a full week of practice at training camp, and things are relatively quiet at Ray Nitschke Field. However, their rookie class is starting to make a good impression. Specifically, first-round defensive tackle Kenny Clark is emerging as a threat:

Via Acme Packing Company:

Kenny Clark is now getting substantial snaps with the first-team defense, lining up at nose tackle with Mike Daniels (3t) and Letroy Guion (5t) in the base defense. He also continued his impressive showing in one-on-one pass-rushing drills and maintained a spot as an interior rusher in the dime defense.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Packers’ offensive line is impressing, despite the fact that T.J. Lang started camp on the PUP list, but has since been activated. The wide receiver situation is a bit in flux. Jordy Nelson remains on the PUP list (he says “don’t worry about it”), while Davante Adams and Jared Abbrederis have received mixed reviews at camp.


PUP list: OG T.J. Lang (now removed), WR Jordy Nelson, LB Sam Barrington, TE Jared Cook, C Corey Linsley, WR Ty Montgomery

Others: RB James Starks missed practice on Monday and the guy behind him on the depth chart, Brandon Burks, left practice with a leg injury.

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