The NFC North continues to be one of the most difficult divisions in football to figure out year by year. Aside from the Green Bay Packers, each team enters not knowing what they will accomplish. In 2021, that notion will continue.
Of course, this starts with a Minnesota Vikings. It seems as though the Vikings have been viewed as contenders in the preseason for years now but have grossly under achieved. This could be because their defense failed to step up or their offensive line play was less than impressive. Whatever the reason, Kirk Cousins and the Vikings need to figure it out sooner than later. This is if they want to compete with Green Bay, who has plenty of drama that we will get into in a little bit.
Speaking of underwhelming teams, the Chicago Bears are looking to turn things around. They traded up in the draft to take Ohio State product Justin Fields. This could give the Bears a franchise quarterback for the first time in many years. Finally, there’s the Detroit Lions. Detroit sent Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams and received a package that included Jared Goff. It will be a new-look team with both Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. signing with new teams.
The NFC North has been dominated by Green Bay in recent years. This has caused teams to make some big moves already and here are four others that could happen in the offseason.
Chicago Bears: Anthony Miller
It is difficult to judge any wide receiver that has played for the Bears in recent years not named Allen Robinson II. He is a different breed considering his elite status in the league. Anyway, receivers in Chicago have dealt with terrible quarterback play that includes Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles. This is where player like Miller could get a bit disgruntled.
Chicago has floated Miller’s name in trade rumors recently. He was a hot topic leading up to the draft and will continue to be as we get into the summer months. The Bears drafted what they hope will be their franchise quarterback in Fields and they could look to make some more changes. Miller has been unhappy with the situation in Chicago and has not handled it well. The Bears could simply look to move a disgruntled player with a high ceiling back and land them a big return.
This is a move that we could see happen sooner than later. Chicago might not wait around on this one and take the first good deal that they get. It will be interesting to see what the exact value is on a receiver like Miller.
Detroit Lions: Tyrell Crosby
The Lions have began taking calls and floating Crosby’s name in trade rumors. The offensive lineman has acted as a swing tackle for Detroit over the last three years. He has started 18 games and came off the bench in plenty of others. After the draft, the Lions have some flexibility to move one of their linemen and Crosby could be the odd man out.
Detroit saw Penei Sewell fall into their laps during the first round of the draft. That was an absolute gift and could turn into being one of the biggest steals, and it could help the Lions take a step forward in the NFC North. Sewell graded very highly and is expected to be in All-Pro level lineman.
Sewell will fill a hole at right tackle for years to come. He completes the offensive line for the Lions across the board, led by Taylor Decker who is signed through 2024. Detroit finally has a complete offensive line and that is something that will benefit the new quarterback in Goff.
Crosby has great versatility, as he can play both guard and tackle positions. That is something that could benefit a team looking to plug in a starting caliber player right away. For Detroit, Crosby would land them some more capital that they could use for the future. With the current state of their offensive line, they can afford to make this move.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers
Whether this is going to happen or not is the most compelling storyline in the league right now and one that is a ton of fun to talk about. Aaron Rodgers dropped an absolute bomb on draft night when a report leaked that he told teammates he would not be returning to the Packers. That could force the hand of Green Bay and make them trade him to one of his preferred destinations.
Those destinations seem to be out west. Rodgers might want to be closer to home and that is why he has his sights set on teams like the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders. The San Francisco 49ers were assumed to be a destination before they opted for Trey Lance with the third overall pick in the draft. The Packers put themselves in a terrible position with Rodgers when they used their first-round pick in 2020 on Jordan Love. Rodgers responded with an MVP season and could pull the ultimate power move by forcing his way out.
Rodgers is allegedly unhappy with the front office and Matt LaFleur as head coach. If he is looking for a new home, there are plenty of teams with strong defenses and weapons on the outside for him to land. Rodgers has shown that he can still play this game at an all-time level and has many good years left.
Let’s hope that a blockbuster deal is made this summer so we can see one of the most exciting trades happen in recent memory. A Rodgers trade would shake the foundation of the NFC North division.
Minnesota Vikings: Alexander Mattison
There is nothing that sticks out about Mattison for the Vikings. At this time, they do not have to keep him around as a backup, as they would be able to find one on the open market. Dalvin Cook is locked up long-term and has turned into one of the best runners in the league. That gives the Vikings some flexibility in the backfield.
The running back position has turned into one where players can be replaced year-by-year, unless a team has a stud like Cook. When it comes to backups, teams can continue to switch in and out looking for a capable receiver out of the backfield.
For Mattison, his value could be worth it for the Vikings to take a look on the open market. There have not been a ton of them, but rumors have surfaced surrounding the backup running back, but this is a quiet move that we could see happen sooner or later.
Minnesota needs to worry about shoring up their offense of line and getting the defense back to the level it is used to. If Mattison is a player that could land some capital, we could see him moved very quickly. The Vikings should be all-in on trying to compete for the NFC North title.