Kaare Vedvik

North Rumors: Steelers, Vikes, Ravens, Lions

While Le’Veon Bell has given no indication as to when he’ll report to the Steelers, those involved in the matter “estimate” Bell will arrive on Saturday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). That’s far from a declarative report, but showing on Saturday would allow Bell to receive his game check for Pittsburgh’s Week 1 contest, even though he almost certainly won’t play in the game. The Steelers won’t rescind Bell’s franchise tag, which is scheduled to pay him roughly $14.5MM for the 2018 season, nor will they trade the All-Pro running back, per Rapoport. Bell’s agent suggested workload is a concern for the superstar, but head coach Mike Tomlin says he won’t discuss Bell’s projected usage with the latter’s representation, per Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • After years of moonlighting as the Vikings‘ defensive play-caller, head coach Mike Zimmer admits he’s considered handing duties off to coordinator George Edwards, per Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com. However, Zimmer is confident is his ability to make adjustments late in games, and also doesn’t want to constantly second-guess Edwards. “I have a style of how I call a game. George, even though he tries to do it like I do it, I don’t want to tell him, ‘Oh I hate that call’ or ‘You should’ve called this,'” said Zimer. “I don’t think that’s fair to him. If I want something called, I should call it.”
  • Ravens kicker Kaare Vedvik, who was hospitalized with severe head injuries over the weekend, is now visiting the club at its facility, reports Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Vedvik, who had injuries consistent with an assault, was placed on the non-football injury list. Rival teams were reportedly interested in the rookie kicker heading into roster cutdowns, and a trade market could have existed. Vedvik won’t be eligible to play this season, but could compete for a role in 2019 if he’s fully healthy.
  • The Lions didn’t have a single player they cut over the weekend land on another roster via a waiver claim or a free agent signing, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. While that could indicate Detroit made all the correct decisions on Saturday/Sunday, it could also mean the Lions have a weakness at the back of their roster. With that in mind, the Lions and general manager Bob Quinn could make adding depth a priority over the next few weeks.

AFC Notes: Ravens, Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos

Undrafted rookie kicker Kaare Vedvik wasn’t going to make the Ravens due to the presence of Justin Tucker, but his leg proved so impressive this offseason that it was reported multiple teams were interested in trading for him. Those hopes appeared to be dashed, at least temporarily, when Vedvik was rushed to the hospital with very serious injuries just before roster cuts.

Vedvik can’t really remember what happened to him, but it appears police are suspecting some sort of foul play as he suffered serious head trauma. Ravens coach John Harbaugh thinks it “cost him a chance to kick in this league” and added “there were plenty of trade talks” involving Vedvik according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. It’s an unfortunate situation all around for the Norway native who was shaping up to be a very good story. Here’s to hoping he makes a full recovery.

More from around the AFC:

  • It’s been a long road back to the field for Chiefs All-Pro safety Eric Berry. Berry, who suffered an Achilles tear that cost him the entire 2017 season, is now suffering from a heel injury that may cause him to miss Week 1 according to Brooke Pryor of the Kansas City Star. Heel and Achilles injuries can be closely related so it makes sense why the team would want to be cautious, but being without Berry for any period of time would be a huge blow to an already weak Kansas City secondary.
  • The Raiders’ trade for Martavis Bryant ended in disaster. The team surrendered a third round pick for the oft-troubled receiver, and he ended up never playing a down for them. Facing yet another suspension, the team cut him this past weekend. Despite all that, Raiders coach Jon Gruden is somehow still open to bringing Bryant back, saying “perhaps we’ll get Martavis again next year and get the best out of him” adding that he’s a “great talent” and that the move “was a risk I think well worth taking” per ProFootballTalk.com.
  • Rookie running back Royce Freeman has been named the Broncos’ starter over incumbent Devontae Booker, according to Mike Klis of 9News. Freeman, a third round pick from Oregon, started the summer as the number two but leapfrogged Booker due to a strong preseason.

North Notes: Bears, Ravens, Packers, Browns

Among the offers the Raiders received for edge rusher Khalil Mack, the Bears‘ was “by far” the strongest, tweets Michael Lombardi of The Athletic. Chicago eventually acquired Mack, so it’s unsurprising their offer was the most substantial, but Lombardi’s report may indicate the Bears outbid rivals by several magnitudes. In the end, Chicago sent Oakland a 2019 first-round pic, a 2010 first-round pick, a 2020 third-round pick, and a 2019 sixth-round pick in exchange for Mack, a 2020 second-round round pick, and a conditional 2020 fifth-round pick. The Bears have since extended Mack, making him the NFL’s highest-paid defender.

AFC Notes: Browns, Landry, Peterman

On the eve of roster cutdown day, here’s the latest out of the AFC:

  • The Browns have turned to multiple players this offseason in search of Joe Thomas‘ replacement, but after moving well-regarded left guard Joel Bitonio to left tackle, it doesn’t appear the team is ready to slot him there in Week 1. Hue Jackson said Bitonio might be moving back to guard and has declined to say who will be his left tackle starter against the Steelers, per Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland (on Twitter). Austin Corbett‘s left guard job is also not certain, per Jackson (via Jeff Schudel of the Lorain Morning Journal, on Twitter). Rookie UDFA Desmond Harrison may be the latest name to get a crack at left tackle, which would be an interesting move for a team with Shon Coleman and Greg Robinson still on the roster.
  • It appears the Titans may be without two of their top edge rushers when they suit up for Week 1. With Derrick Morgan already expected to be out because of meniscus surgery, Harold Landry suffered a sprained ankle — a second opinion revealing that this could be a high ankle sprain, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter) — is uncertain for Tennessee’s opener. No joint damage occurred, but the Titans may opt to play it safe with their second-rounder.
  • Working as both a camp kicker and punter with the Ravens, rookie UDFA Kaare Vedvik has drawn attention around the league this month. Teams are monitoring this situation, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link), since Vedvik will not be beating out Justin Tucker or Sam Koch.
  • Nathan Peterman has a real shot to be the Bills‘ Week 1 starter, despite having made one of the worst starts in modern NFL history last season. Signs are pointing to Peterman to begin the year as the Bills’ starter, Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic writes. The 2017 fifth-round pick completed 80 percent of his preseason passes and watched the Bills deploy A.J. McCarron instead of him in Thursday night’s preseason finale, a game usually reserved for backups or players set to be cut. McCarron signed for two years and $8MM this offseason. Josh Allen is obviously the long-term option, but while he learns, Peterman may be the Bills’ guy.

Ravens Sign 15 UDFAs

The Ravens have signed 15 undrafted free agents. Here’s the complete list:

  • Jaelon Acklin, WR (Western Illinois)
  • Randin Crecelius, OL (Portland State)
  • Gus Edwards, RB (Rutgers
  • Justin Evans, G (South Carolina State)
  • Nick Keizer, TE (Grand Valley State)
  • Andre Levrone, WR (Virginia)
  • Mason McKendrick, LB (John Carroll)
  • Christian LaCouture, DL (LSU)
  • Alvin Jones, LB (UTEP)
  • Trent Sieg, LS (Colorado State)
  • Mark Thompson, RB (Florida)
  • Alex Thompson, C (Monmouth)
  • De’Lance Turner, RB (Alcorn State)
  • Kaare Vedvik, P (Marshall)
  • Darious Williams, DB (UAB)

Jones started 43 games at UTEP and tallied 40 tackles for a loss over the course of his NFL career. That’s a pretty solid showing for someone who played quarterback in high school and was initially recruited to UTEP as a safety.

Five Florida Gators were drafted last week, but Thompson did not hear his name called. The talented running back will now get his opportunity to go from the Ravens’ 90-man offseason roster to their 53-man roster in the fall. In a limited sample of work, he averaged 5.1 yards per carry as a senior, though ball security was an issue for him at UF. He’ll have to keep the fumbles to a minimum this offseason as the team already has four running backs on the roster in Alex Collins, Javorius Allen, John Crockett, and Kenneth Dixon plus two other UDFA RBs in Edwards and Turner.