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Vikings’ NFC North Rivals: News and Notes from Camp

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I read up on our division opponents so that you don’t have to!

NFL: Pro Hall of Fame Game-Chicago Bears at Baltimore Ravens Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears:

Brian Urlacher was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend. He was the best at his position for a long, long time, and the recognition is well-deserved. The Bears have hope that Roquan Smith will be that type of player, but until he signs his contract and reports to camp, he’s as much the next Brian Urlacher for the Bears as I am.

The team also lost 17-16 to the Baltimore Ravens in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Thursday night. To me, it seems as if this game should be moved a week or two back in the preseason, or not played at all. Most of the players on the field won’t take any meaningful snaps this season, and it seems like the actual enshrinement deserves a better game.

Javon Wims has impressed so far in camp at WR. With the signing of Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, maybe Mitchell Trubisky will have some decent weapons at wideout. And with the tandem of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen in the backfield, the Bears’ offense - under offensive guru Matt Nagy - should be improved over last years’ squad.

But it all starts with Trubisky, and so far, the reports have not been very kind, although one article I found says that he has made some strides since the beginning of camp.

On a side note, while many people were partying it up at Lollapalooza, 25 34 45 60 people were shot, and at least five nine were killed in the Windy City this weekend. Seriously. What the Hell, Chicago?

Detroit Lions:

The Lions were once again not expected to partake in any enshrinement during this weekends Hall of Fame ceremony. They didn’t disappoint.

New Head Coach Matt Patricia apparently was so unhappy with the performance of the offense during drills this past week that he had the entire offense - first, second, and third teams - run the length of the field as punishment.

The Lions activated pass rusher Cornelius Washington from the Non-Football Injury list. This is big for them, considering defensive end Ziggy Ansah is languishing on the PUP list with a knee injury.

In “former Vikings news”, Matt Cassel is entrenching himself as the number two QB, behind Matt Stafford.

It seems as though Detroit has an entire backfield made up of “number 2’s” (no pun intended), and nobody running away with the number one back job just yet. There are certainly some names competing for spots, such as former second round draft pick Ameer Abdullah, long time do-it-all back Theo Riddick, TD-machine LeGarrette Blount, Eagan, MN’s own Zach Zenner (who has taken all the snaps in the team’s two-minute drill) and this years’ second rounder, Kerryon Johnson, among others. This bears watching, however, because one of their castoffs could be pulled in late if the Vikings feel as though their backfield could use an experienced insurance-policy-player. If Johnson is given the starters role, and Blount is the short yardage guy, and Riddick is the third down back, that leaves Abdullah and Zenner. Personally, I wouldn’t mind someone like Theo Riddick in purple, as insurance against an injury to Cook or Murray. And it would definitely fit the Vikings M.O. to pull in someone like Zenner. Abdullah wouldn’t move the needle for me, though.

It sounds as though Marvin Jones has been eating the defense alive so far during camp, but that is a very Marvin Jones thing to do. I’ll be impressed when it happens in the regular season.

Green Bay Packers: The Packers activated Tackle Bryan Bulaga off the PUP list this week, which made all the folks in Packerland happy. Just as they began to feel all warm and fuzzy, however, Pro Bowl Left Tackle David Bakhtiari went down with an apparent ankle injury and was carted off the field. It seems he rolled his ankle, but the injury isn’t thought to be too severe, but something to keep an eye on, as Bakhtiari has had ankle issues in the past.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame finally let former Packers great Jerry Kramer through the door. The guard was the only member of the NFL’s 50th anniversary team not enshrined. The five time All-Pro guard deserved to be in, and he’s only been eligible for an unforgivable 45 years, so it was probably time.

Aaron Rodgers had Packers Twitter feeling hot in the crotch (well… imagine that, right?!) on Thursday night after completing a “no-look” pass to Geronimo Allison during the team’s two minute drill. Apparently, he drew the defense offside with a hard count on fourth-and-ten (really!?!), creating a free play, then rolled left and found Allison with the pass across the field to the right. No disrespect to Rodgers - I’m sure the play was indeed spectacular, and I’m happy for him. But to read the reactions to the play from Packer fans and writers, you’d think he rolled left and resurrected Vince Lombardi!

From an article written by ESPN’s Rob Demovsky:

“Those who witnessed what the Green Bay Packers quarterback did in practice No. 6 might still be in awe.”

And…

“The details of the play will be retold in training camps to come.”

From Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy:

“That one there, I don’t know, we’ll have to start a different library for that throw. It was a special throw.”

From the Twitters:

This happened on Day 6 of Packers camp, right? Asking for a friend.

That’s all for now. Thanks to Windy City Gridiron (keep your heads down, fellas!), Pride of Detroit, and Acme Packing Company for much of the information in these reports.