NFC North Notes: LaFleur, Vikings, Burton

Matt LaFleur‘s hands-on approach in his first year as Packers HC will have to be tabled for a while. The torn Achilles LaFleur suffered this week will require immediate surgery, with Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reporting he will go under the knife Sunday. The 39-year-old coach was active in his first weeks leading the Packers, taking on an “enormous” load. But with the recovery from this surgery necessitating a potential six-month timetable, LaFleur’s methods will have to change. The coach was overseeing practice from a golf cart this week. This will certainly mark an interesting period for the Packers, LaFleur managing Achilles rehab while going through his first year as a head coach.

A couple weeks ago I kind of tweaked my calf on the other side,” LaFleur said, via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “But this one, I knew immediately. It was way more forceful. I thought somebody hit me in the leg. I looked around and nobody’s by me. It’s just one of those deals. We’ll rebound. We’ll be back.”

Shifting to some of the players in the NFC North, here is the latest out of the division:

  • Kirk Cousins does not have any early retirement plans. In discussing the arrival of rookie center Garrett Bradbury, the second-year Vikings quarterback said he would like to play well into the 2020s. “I told him, ‘I’d like to work together for about the next decade,’ ” Cousins said, via Dane Mizutani of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I just tried to set that vision for him and say, ‘You be the guy here for the next decade and let’s not have to worry about having anybody else snap for the quarterback.” While it is uncertain if Cousins will be in Minnesota beyond 2020, the final year of his fully guaranteed deal, the soon-to-be 31-year-old passer would prefer he stay in the Twin Cities on what would be multiple additional contracts.
  • With Bradbury sliding in at center, Minnesota’s incumbent snapper will slide to guard. Pat Elflein has started 28 games at center since beginning his NFL career, but he said (via Mizutani) he is now working at left guard. Elflein last played guard at Ohio State. Elflein lining up on the left side would put free agent addition Josh Kline in line to start at right guard. Both will be adjusting to the Gary KubiakRick Dennison zone-blocking scheme.
  • Trey Burton will not participate in the Bears‘ final OTA sessions next week or their mid-June minicamp. Chicago’s top tight end underwent sports hernia surgery, Matt Nagy said (via NBC 5’s Mike Berman, on Twitter). The Bears hope he will be ready by training camp. Burton played all 16 games for the Bears last season, reaching career-high marks in receptions, yards and touchdowns (54/569/6).
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19 comments on “NFC North Notes: LaFleur, Vikings, Burton

  1. leprechaun

    Bears 11-5 Vikings 9-7 Packers 8-8 lions 7-9. That is based on no serious amount of injuries to any team.

    • tank62
      tank62

      As a Bears fan Ill take that. I think the Vikings are set for a free fall myself but you are probably more accurate

      • Sirsleepit

        Wishful thinking from a biased fan that the Vikings will free fall. They’re returning almost the same team and used 2 picks on the OL..

    • AstrosWS20

      I see the Bears at 10-6. That schedule is a gauntlet and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vikings get to 10-6 either. If Trubisky and that offense can take a big step forward then 11 or 12 wins might be possible.

  2. Crycket

    Vikings have too much talent on both sides of the ball for a free fall. They might not beat the Bears for the division, but they wont finish worse than the Packers and Lions.

    • kenleyfornia2

      Packers did a ton to fix their defense and their QB is galaxies better than Kirk

  3. Hannibal8us

    Just getting that offensive line better should help keep the Vikings in the mix for the top of the division. The Bears facing a much tougher schedule and losing Fangio might cause them to take a step back.

    • Steven Juris

      Pagano is just as good as Fangio was. Just a much more aggressive version. They both have similar backgrounds.

      • Hannibal8us

        I completely disagree, I watched a lot of Pagano in Indy and wasn’t impressed. Fangio is probably the brightest defensive mind in all of football currently and people are really underestimating what that loss is going to do. The Bears defense is too talented to fall off too much but you don’t just replace a guy like Fangio.

        • tim2686

          Fangio will be missed, but the offense should be better in year two to offset the loss. This should allow Pagano enough time to solidify the defense over the season. He was a good DC in Baltimore before Indy. It feels like most DC’s are poor head coaches in the long run lately, but I may be biased with that statement.

    • maximumvelocity

      When the Bears replaced Buddy Ryan In 1986 with Vince Tobin, who came from the USFL, the Bears gave up fewer points than they had the previous season. Why? They didn’t lose any key players from the previous season. Pagano is from the same coaching tree, is going to use the same terminology, and will have the same players.

  4. Kirk Cousins will go wherever they offer them the most money. The fellow is Scrooge the Mercenary Quarterback/Accountant (he doesn’t spend any of his millions and prefers to live in his in-laws basement). Frugality is a virtue but avarice is not.

    • Hannibal8us

      Not sure about that Cousins left the Redskins because they didn’t respect him enough to give him a long term deal. He might appreciate the Vikings loyalty and want to stick around, the real question is whether he’ll earn another contract from the Vikings.

  5. crosseyedlemon

    “This will certainly mark an interesting period for the Packers.”

    I’m really excited at the prospect of Packer fans cursing in French (or at least trying to).

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