Around the NFC North: Lions in Jail, Vikings Trade Requests, Bears Roaring Quietly
We know what the Packers have been up to, but it’s been a while since we checked in on the other teams in the division. Let’s take a trip around the NFC North.
The Lions will give the Packers all they can handle in the NFC North as long as they stay out of prison. Running back Mikel Leshoure, defensive lineman Nick Fairley, tackle Johnny Culbreath and corner Aaron Berry have had run-ins with the law this offseason. Everybody is clamoring for Lions’ management to take a stand against this stuff, but really, most of it will be forgotten if Detroit plays up to its potential and contends for a division title. Winning makes the fact that your team is filled with morons a secondary story.
Percy Harvin reportedly requested a trade. There’s no way the Vikings will trade him unless they’re able to get 100 percent return on his value (unlikely). If Peterson remains hurt, Harvin is the Vikings best player on offense, and it’s not even really close. Harvin is due to make $915,000 this year, about half of what Jerome Simpson, the troubled and not-very-good WR signed by the Vikings this offseason, is set to make. Harvin is underpaid, and I don’t blame him for being mad, but I think he’d make more money if he just shut up and continued producing. He gained no additional leverage by requesting a trade, in my opinion. Harvin showed up at minicamp a day after requesting the trade, so who knows where his mind is at this point.
Matt Forte still hasn’t been signed to a long-term deal and could hold out once training camp starts. Other than that, the Bears are quietly getting healthy and going about their business. With Jay Cutler healthy, Brandon Marshall on the team, and Mike Martz gone, this offense should do more than enough to keep up with the Packers and Lions high-powered attacks. The offensive line remains shaky, but I think the sack and pressure numbers will get better with Martz gone.