NFC North Notes: Watkins, Lions, Bears, Vikes

The Lions, who already have the NFL’s top receiver in Calvin Johnson, have been frequently linked to the draft’s No. 1 wideout over the last several weeks and months, and today the team finally hosted Clemson’s Sammy Watkins on an official pre-draft visit, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Watkins is expected to be off the board by the time the Lions’ No. 10 pick arrives, so if the club really wants to land him, a trade will probably be required. Today’s visit could go a long way toward the Lions deciding whether or not to pursue such a move.

Here are several more items on the Lions and a couple of their NFC North rivals:

  • Birkett adds (via Twitter) that the Lions are also setting up a visit for Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller, who has several other meetings on his schedule, as we heard earlier in the afternoon.
  • New Detroit backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky is hoping to alleviate the concerns of Lions fans who aren’t happy to see him back on the roster after his last stint with the team included an 0-16 season. “I get the fears maybe with obviously fans and whatnot,” Orlovsky said, according to Birkett. “But the organization knows what they’re doing, and I know I’m a good player, and I certainly hope to just be part of changing some of that past, whether it’s directly or indirectly.”
  • Veteran defensive back Aaron Ross had a tryout with the Lions today, according to Jason La Canfora of (via Twitter).
  • The Bears‘ workout with Josh Freeman was reported yesterday, as were the auditions for running backs Nate Eachus, Javon Ringer, and Phillip Tanner but those weren’t the only players to work out for the team. As Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post details, the club also auditioned quarterback Adam Weber and tight end Matthew Mulligan.
  • If veteran long snapper Patrick Mannelly doesn’t re-sign with the Bears, he’ll likely retire, writes Jeff Dickerson of
  • The Vikings will meet privately with quarterback Zach Mettenberger following his Pro Day, a source tells Master Tesfatsion of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). The club was said last week to have real interest in the LSU signal-caller.
  • Cassius Vaughn‘s one-year pact with the Lions is a minimum salary benefit contract with no signing bonus, tweets Aaron Wilson.
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