Around the NFC North: Key Lions and Packers on the PUP List, Cook is Full-Go, Stafford, Cousins, More

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Around the NFC North: Key Lions and Packers on the PUP List, Cook is Full-Go, Stafford, Cousins, More

Chicago Bears

Season’s over, Cheeseheads:

  • Alright, so it’s an inauspicious start to the summer for the Packers’ signal caller. But Aaron Rodgers is probably more concerned about some of his injured teammates than a training camp interception. ESPN’s Field Yates tweets that right tackle Bryan Bulaga and outside linebacker Nick Perry are starting training camp on the physically unable to perform list. Bulaga tore his ACL last November, which means August will mark nine months in his recovery process. The expectation is that both he and Perry will be ready when things get underway in Week 1 against the Bears.
  • I’m glad Chicago is bringing back both of its starting corners because they’ll need to beat the top of their respective games if they’re going to slow down Davante Adams and at least try and do their part in keeping him off a 1,000-yard receiving pace:

  • Elsewhere in the division on the injury front, Vikings center Pat Elfein isn’t ready to give it a full-go just yet. The team announced that its starting center has been placed on the physically unable to perform list. Elflein suffered a broken ankle during Minnesota’s NFC Championship Game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and was a non-participant during the team’s offseason training program as he embarked on the recovery process. Elflein was Pro Football Focus’ 31st-ranked center last season, earning a 43.2 grade from the analytics site.
  • On a positive note from Vikings camp, Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer-Press tweets that running back Dalvin Cook is a “full-go” as training camp opens. The second-year back is also participating without a knee brace:

  • While the focus in Vikings camp is (rightfully) on new quarterback Kirk Cousins, let’s not lose sight of the impact a healthy Cook could bring. Cook, who played in just four games last season, was on pace for 296 carries, 1,416 yards, and eight touchdowns as a rookie before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Guy was shredding defenses and looking like a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate. Before it’s all said and done, Cook will play a major role in whether or not Minnesota is a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
  • Cousins spoke to the media for the first time at training camp on Thursday, where he raved about working with his new teammates. “Those guys are just easy to work with,” Cousins said, via the Star-Tribune. “They’re easy to lead, too, because they are so excited about football and they love playing this game. There are people in this league who love what football brings them, but they don’t really love football. We’ve got a lot of guys on this team who really love football, regardless of what it brings them and that’s obviously fun to work with and play with.”
  • Matthew Stafford is going on 10 years in Detroit, which is crazy to think about. But what might be even crazier is the idea that Stafford could be entering the prime of his career. “Quarterbacks in this league really develop pretty well at this sort of age range,” Offensive Coordinator Jim Bob Cooter told the Associated Press. “(Stafford’s) getting better at different things. Every year we have diferent sort of points of emphasis. It could be throwing a certain pass, it could be pocket movement or it could be something with his feet.” Stafford has guided the Lions to the playoffs three times, but doesn’t have a playoff win to show for it.
  • The Lions announced a pair of free agent signings, adding defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois and linebacker Darnell Sankey to their roster. First-year Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia coached Jean Francois last year, so there is a bit of familiarity there. Jean Francois also has familiarity in the division having played a six-game stint with the Packers  last season. He also worked out for the Bears in March 2017, but did not sign.
  • Detroit could certainly use the depth help along the defensive line after placing defensive end Ezekiel Ansah on the physically unable to perform list to start training camp. To be clear, any player placed on the PUP list right now can be activated at any point during the preseason. Still, Ansah has a decorated injury history and just received the franchise tag this offseason. This is the third time in the last five years in which Ansah has started training camp on the PUP list, which is less than ideal for a team that will pay Ansah north of $17 million this season.

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.