NFC North Blog
Lions beat writer Kyle Meinke predicts RB Theo Riddick will have chances to play a 'Sproles-like' role in the Lions offense writing "If the Riddick hype is for real -- and at this point, there's no reason to suspect otherwise -- then Riddick could fill a kind of Darren Sproles-like role in the offense." Riddick only had 13 carries last season but has seen praise from teammates and coaches during the offseason. If this prediction is true, the Lions running backfield could be one of the best in the NFL while also featuring Reggie Bush and Joique Bell.
Packers running backs coach Sam Gash tells the Green Bay Press-Gazette he has no concerns at all about overusing Lacy. "If he gets 40 (carries a game), I'm ok with that," Gash said. "He has huge upside." Last year Lacy touched the ball an average of 21 times per game, and it sounds as though that number is set to increase this sesason. Gash also dispelled the notion that the Packers will try to preserve Lacy for future seasons. "You're not going to play this game until you're 45 or 50," Gash said. "He'll last as long as he's meant to last."
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport is saying newly acquired Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate will begin training camp on the active/PUP list. This is due to a shoulder injury suffered in OTAs which caused him to miss the rest of offseason minicamps. While Tate is considered day-to-day, it doesn't present much concern as he's expected to be healthy by the start of the season. He will be the Lions WR2 opposite Calvin Johnson.
Casual NFL fans really began to know the name Cordarrelle Patterson last year by watching him return kicks. He finished second in the league in kick return yards (1,393) and brought two kicks back for scores. This year, the Vikings are pushing him to be their No. 1 wide receiver. But just because Patterson will have a much larger role in the offense doesn't mean the Vikings will abandon what has worked so well for them and Patterson.
"We want our best players to get their hands on the ball as much as possible," head coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday. "We're not going to keep [Patterson] from returning kicks because he is such a dangerous weapon there."
Cassel is the "heavy favorite" to start over Vikings rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater, USA Today's Tom Pelissero says. The Vikings took Bridgewater in the first round of the 2014 draft, prompting many observers to speculate that he would start for Minnesota this season. For his part, VIkings HC Mike Zimmer has said he won't name either player the starter early in camp. But for now, it seems that Minnesota will begin the season with Cassel under center.
When asked to assess this year's Packers running game compared to those of the past 10 years, one NFL executive told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "It's the best it's ever looked. They're good to go. As long as Eddie Lacy's healthy, I think they're as comfortable as they've ever been." Running back coach Sam Gash agreed. "I'm lucky," Gash said. "From top to bottom, the guys we have, I'm happy to be with a group as solid as this. I'm coming in just hoping not to mess it up. I'll make sure the guys are where they're supposed to be and take it from there."
Master Tesfatsion of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote Friday that Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph "should have a big year" under offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Rudolph was on his way to setting some career-highs last year before a broken foot took him down for the final eight games. But Rudolph's foot is healthy, he has lost some weight in an effort to make himself quicker, and "all signs point to [Rudolph] elevating his game" this season, Tesfatsion said. Tight ends such as Jordan Cameron and Antonio Gates have done just that with Turner's coaching.
Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune believes "Martellus Bennett is poised to build on his breakthrough first season" with the Bears. Tight ends coach Andy Bischoff also had praise for Bennett mentioning "The things we've identified for him as improvable areas, he is all over it." Bennett had some issues staying healthy last season but should be good to go this year.
In a very vague and unclear tweet, Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley indicated he may be returning to his former team less than a day after meeting the Pittsburgh Steelers and they apparently offered him a contract at that time.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson may not reach 300 carries this season, but that doesn't mean he will be used less than in years past, just differently. According to ESPN's Ben Goessling, head coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner want to turn some of Peterson's would-be rushes into receptions. They want to give him the ball with more space to run and reduce the number of hard hits he absorbs.