News and Notes Cutdown week has come and gone.

Vikings’ NFC North Rivals: Teams have finalized their rosters White
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, and players can finally breathe a sigh of
relief - they’re either playing football or looking for a new job.The NFC North
was a whirlwind of activity this past week - and almost none of it had to do
with action on the field of play.The intrigue happened mostly in the front
offices.Aaron Rodgers signed a monstrosity of a backloaded deal that will keep
him in Green Bay for at least a few years.And the Bears weren’t about to be
outdone, getting a deal done with the Oakland Raiders for former Defensive
Player of the Year Khalil Mack.The Detroit Lions, meanwhile, signed versatile
safety Quandre Diggs (No Relation) to a ho-hum three year, 20.4 million dollar
contract.I say ho-hum not because it’s an insignificant amount, but because all
of a sudden, twenty million dollars just seems fairly pedestrian these days.Why,
oh why, couldn’t I have been born athletic instead of good-looking, charming and
talented?Chicago BearsSkipping over the Khalil Mack deal momentarily, the Bears
roster moves went off largely as predicted.No real unexpected names, and really
no “let’s jump at the chance to sign this guy” moments, either.As far as the
depth chart is concerned, the only real surprise that I see is the fact that
rookie James Daniels is listed as the sole backup at all three interior O-Line
positions, and the Bears kept only seven O-Linemen.For a team with so much
invested in their QBOTF, Mitchell Trubisky, that just seems like a pretty big
risk.On the defensive side of the ball, the addition of Mack really does add
quite a bit of punch.Vic Fangio is no dummy, and now he has players that fit his
needs all over the field.I’d give the Bears a very solid second place in the
NFCN as far as defenses go, behind only the Vikings.Now, on to the Mack
signing.The Bears gave up first round picks in 2019 and 2020 in order to get
Mack, then had to turn around and sign him to a six year, $141 million contract,
with $90 million of that guaranteed.This season, however, will be played under
his fifth year option, paying him “only” $13.8 million (see Youth
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, there’s that whole ho-hum feeling
again!).What folks in Chicago don’t seem to want to talk about is the fact that,
according to the folks at Over The Cap, there’s a strong possibility that Mack
never sees the end of this contract.The last three years’ dead money goes from
6.8 million, to zero, to zero again.And Mack, who will be 33 years old at the
end of the deal, will have a cap hit of 24, 22, and 23 million dollars those
last three years.The deal seems to be making Bears fans happy, and I certainly
get it.But for a team that seems to be a couple years away from contending, it
seems like they’re going all in right now.The Bears open their season on Sunday
Night Football in Green Bay.Not-afraid-to-make-a-prediction Prediction: Green
Bay wins the game, Ridgers throws three TD passes, and the universe goes bananas
because Rodgers is “back”.Detroit LionsThe Lions - who can already boast a
pretty impressive starting offensive line of Taylor Decker, TJ Lang, Graham
Glasgow, Frank Ragnow, and Ricky Wagner - ended up keeping 10 (ten!) offensive
linemen, including Joe Dahl (who I mentioned in last week’s recap).Considering
the Bears, Vikings, and Packers all have needs along the offensive line in one
form or another, that almost seems like a defensive move.Lions Twitter got all
riled up about Khalil Mack, as well.Local Radio host Dan Leach dug deep into his
sources to try and break a story that Khalil Mack was heading to Detroit.Leach
was definitely out to lunch on this one, but may have earned himself fourteen
and a half years worth of free sandwiches, so there may be some consolation for
him.The Lions open their season in a Monday Night must-see TV matchup, hosting
the New York Jets.Not-afraid-to-make-a-prediction Prediction:The Lions win this
one handily, as the Jets turn the ball over several times, and the New York
media begins calling for Sam Darnold’s head on a platter.Green Bay
PackersOK ,
I know he didn’t actually wear that outfit to the signing.But, seriously.Ughh...
he’s just... such a...Oh, by the way, the Packers signed Aaron Rodgers to a new,
134 million dollar deal, with $78 Million of that guaranteed.It’s a pretty
team-friendly deal, too - assuming Rodgers can be healthy and productive until
he’s 40 years old.And he will, because鈥?Packers. The Packers will be on the hook
for a total of $103 million in Cap space or, perhaps, $68 million in dead money
in the years Rodgers turns 37, 38, and 39 years old.I guess that’s a plus for
the rest of the division.On cutdown day, the team released - with an injury
settlement - veteran defensive back - and fan NOTfavorite - Quinten
Rollins.Rollins had slowly fallen out of favor with Packer fans since being
drafted in the second round in 2015.The only player from the 2015 Packers draft
class who will be on the roster to start the season is wide
receiver-turned-running back Ty Montgomery, who is listed second behind starter
Jamaal Williams, who is starting in place of the suspended Aaron Jones.Another
player during camp that moved the needle for Packer fans - but this time in a
good way - was Wide Receiver Jake Kumerow.Kumerow, dubbed ‘The Great Whitewater
Hope’ has bounced around the league for a couple of years, landing on
Cincinnati’s, New England’s, and Green Bay’s practice squads.In fact, there’s a
pretty incredible story about him, which can be found here, that I truly
encourage you to check out (no sarcasm font neccesary.It really is a good
read).Yes, UW-Whitewater is in Packerland, so that kind of makes Kumerow a
“local” to Packers fans, but his story is much more than that..Unfortunately,
Kumerow was placed on IR-Designated to Return, which means there’s no hope
(Whitewater ,
or otherwise) of seeing him until week 8 at the earliest.As stated above, the
Packers open their season at Lambeau on Sunday night versus the Chicago
Bears.Not-afraid-to-make-a-prediction Prediction:The Pack will win (see
above).Three things to watch: Vikings vs Jags It won’t be long until the season
is over. I know, y’all are like, “but, Lucas it’s only the second preseason
game.” You’re not wrong, but the season will come and go in a blink of an eye,
so enjoy every bit of it. Minnesota kicks-off against Jacksonville on Saturday
at noon. One of the biggest things to watch for that I’m not including on my
three things, because it’s just obvious. That’s to watch these two defenses and
see where one stacks up against the other. Here are the three things to keep
your eye on throughout the game:3. Tight end competition Wednesday in practice,
tight end Josiah Price suffered a season-ending knee injury. Now, the tight end
depth lost one player. It’s debatable if Price would have even made the roster,
but that solidifies a position battle between Blake Bell and rookie Tyler
Conklin for the third tight end spot and ixnayed a spot for Price on the active
roster. Conklin only caught one pass last week for two yards, but Bell caught
zero passes. I got a thing for rookies beating out players who’ve been in the
league for a few years. Conklin only appeared in eight games last season with
Central Michigan after missing the first five because of an injury. He still
managed to scrape up 28 catches for 406 yards and five touchdowns, averaging
about 50 yards a game. Bell didn’t see much action last season with the Vikings.
He only managed three catches for 19 yards in 13 games. He was placed on injured
reserve after a shoulder injury he sustained on December 15. The year before
that he was in San Francisco where he played in 13 games and only recorded four
catches for 85 yards before going on the injured reserve, again. 2. Look for
Forbath to strike backYes, Daniel Carlson had a fantastic first preseason game.
Now, this week it will probably be Kai Forbath hitting field goals and extra
points, while Carlson handles kick-offs. Forbath isn’t going to let Carlson just
take his job. Last week Carlson hit what seemed to be a perfect 57-yard field
goal and a 39-yard field goal earlier in the game. He managed to make all four
of his extra attempts. He had a solid debut, but can Forbath match his
performance? Why do I make a big deal about kickers? Well just look back on
track records of former kickers who played for the Vikings and blew big games
(cough, cough Gary Anderson and Blair Walsh, cough, cough). 1. Return of Dalvin
CookFinally we get to see number 33 hit the field and take some live-game reps.
Well, hopefully since it’s not a for sure thing. I feel like he might get a
decent amount of touches, but this is also where we will get a hint of if he’ll
be the same player that he was on pace to be last year before he got hurt.
Before getting hurt last season Cook was on pace to exceed 1,000 yards rushing
and some fantasy experts expect him to rush for over 1,100 this season. I’d say
pump the breaks a little bit, considering how well Latavius Murray played last
season. I wouldn’t mind if offensive coordinator John DeFlippo decided to split
the workload between the two or just run with whoever is feeling it that day.
There is no way Murray will take a backseat to Cook.
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