1 major question every team in the NFC North must answer in training camp

NFC North
NFL Analysis Network

That noise you heard was all of the NFC North fans that don’t root for the Green Bay Packers letting out a collective groan when it was announced that Aaron Rodgers would be returning to play with the team during the 2021 season.

Rodgers coming back into the fold for Green Bay once again makes them the favorites in this division. However, the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings will have something to say about that as they are on the up and up. The Detroit Lions are just kicking off a rebuild, but they could still present some problems for teams that underestimate them.

What could hold those teams back from catching the Packers, or from Green Bay getting over the hump in the NFC Championship game? Here is one major question every team in the NFC North has to answer during training camp.

Chicago Bears: When Will Justin Fields Start At QB?

The Chicago Bears made a big move up in the 2021 NFL Draft. They moved up to the 11th pick, trading a 2021 first-round pick, 2021 fifth-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick and 2022 fourth-round pick to the New York Giants.

With the 11th pick, the Bears selected Ohio State quarterback, Justin Fields. Fields gives the team some hope at the quarterback position after Mitchell Tribusky flamed out in recent years. But, the question remains; when will Fields take over as the starting quarterback?

Chicago pegged Andy Dalton as their starter earlier in the offseason before they selected Fields. Veteran Nick Foles is also on the roster still but looks like a distant third. Head coach Matt Nagy has continuously said that Dalton will be under center Week 1, but how long can they keep their prized rookie on the sidelines for? It shouldn’t be long until Fields is named the starter and he will give the Bears a chance to compete in the NFC North.

Detroit Lions: Who Will Emerge As The No. 1 Target?

The Detroit Lions are just beginning a rebuild with new general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell. The roster will be built over time in their image, as they want a tough, hard-nosed football team. They used their first three selections in the 2021 NFL Draft on players in the trenches, with Oregon OL Penei Sewell selected 7th overall.

This is a team that could surprise some people, as they have a strong roster foundation for a new regime. Having a veteran such as Jared Goff under center will help keep the offense afloat. However, Goff will need someone to emerge as his go-to option at wide receiver.

Tight end T.J. Hockenson is an emerging star, but the wide receiver depth chart leaves something to be desired. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. both departed in free agency. They were replaced by Tyrell Williams, who hasn’t played since 2019, and Breshad Perriman.

Rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown should have a chance to emerge as well. Someone taking hold of the No. 1 spot in the wide receiver pecking order would go a long way in helping this offense get on track.

Green Bay Packers: Who Steps Up Opposite Of Jaire Alexander?

The biggest question facing the Green Bay Packers this offseason was whether or not Aaron Rodgers could be back to play. Now that that hurdle is cleared and Rodgers is with the team, the focus turns to the defensive side of the ball.

Last season the Packers’ passing defense let them down in the NFC Championship Game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jaire Alexander has cemented himself among the best cornerbacks in the game, but Green Bay has been unable to find a player to lock down the field opposite of him.

Kevin King was roasted twice during the NFCCG and was a big reason the team fell short against the Bucs. He was brought back, but the team also used their first-round pick on Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes.

Hopefully competing against each other will bring the best out of King and Stokes as they need someone to emerge opposite of Alexander to help keep this defense on track. Green Bay needs a better secondary to once again be the clear-cut favorites in the NFC North.

Minnesota Vikings: Is There Enough Pass Rush?

The 2020 season was a role reversal for the Minnesota Vikings. After having a strong defense that was held back by a mediocre offense for so many years, it was the offense that took off and the defense that was unable to keep up last season.

Minnesota is looking to get back on track defensively this season. They did a good job upgrading the secondary, signing veteran Patrick Peterson away from the Arizona Cardinals and bringing in Bashaud Breeland. But, who is going to generate a pass rush upfront for Minnesota?

The Vikings had a franchise-low 23 sacks in the 2020 season. The player who led the team with 5.0 sacks, Yannick Ngakue, only played six games with the team before being traded to the Baltimore Ravens. Minnesota needs someone to step up opposite of Danielle Hunter this season to create a more consistent pass rush.