Another week of “Eye on the Opposition” is upon us, and again I’ll be giving you the lowdown on everything that the Minnesota Vikings’ NFC North foes have been up to as OTAs roll along.
Here’s a look at what’s been going on in the NFC North as well as some insight as to how it’ll affect the Vikings once the regular season arrives.
Enjoy some news from behind enemy lines.
Evan Rodriguez, a second-year fullback/tight end, was arrested today for DUI, speeding and improper lane usage. This is his second arrest of the offseason – he was arrested back in March for violence and disorderly conduct. While this doesn’t exactly mean that it’ll cost him his roster spot, Rodriguez will be on a short leash once he returns to camp with the Bears. If Rodriguez can’t prove to the Bears that this crime wave is behind him, he’ll be on the open market before the regular season begins.
As far as reports indicate, Matt Forte is at full strength during OTAs and showing that he’s ready to be an integral part of the Bears’ passing game. Especially with new head coach Marc Trestman coming in and bringing out the best in Jay Cutler, Forte figures to be a huge part of the Chicago air assault. If he’s healthy, the Vikings secondary and the rest of the NFC North better be ready to spy him out of the backfield all game long.
Kicker Robbie Gould is expected back soon after rupturing a tendon in his calf late last season. The Bears signed Austin Signor to fill the void, but a strong return by Gould should put the veteran back at the top of the depth chart. It sounds like the Vikings won’t be able to expect missed field goals from Chicago the way they did with the Packers and Mason Crosby.
By all reports, second-year wide receiver Ryan Broyles is looking good so far after returning from an ACL tear that ended his rookie season. After bouncing back from another ACL tear last season, Broyles showed insane amounts of potential as a contributor in the Lions’ passing game. If he can get healthy and stay healthy, Broyles is headed for a breakout year for Detroit.
Another wide receiver that has worked his way onto the Lions radar is Patrick Edwards. He spent his rookie season on the practice squad before tearing his quad and ruining any chance he had of seeing the active roster. So far this offseason, Edwards has gotten several recommendations from teammates and appears to be in line for a serious contributing role in 2013. The Vikings better beware with how good this Detroit receiving corps is turning out.
Word around training camp also has undrafted rookie running back Theo Reddick turning heads. The former Notre Dame standout has displayed tremendous versatility, proving his worth as a runner, receiver and return man. Just another offensive weapon for the Lions to wreak havoc with this upcoming season.
Green Bay Packers
Second-year cornerback Casey Heyward is coming along nicely and appears to be in position to earn a starting job with the Packers this season. Last year, Heyward graded out as arguably the top cornerback in the NFL – albeit with a smaller sample to work with than the majority of the top cover men in the league. Assuming that he continues to build on the tools that he displayed last year, the Vikings will have a tough time passing in Heyward’s direction in 2013, even with an upgraded wide receiver unit.
The Packers’ 2012 first-round pick, Jerel Worthy, is still working his way back from a knee injury that he suffered in the regular season finale against the Vikings last year. Although Worthy has been positive about his return, there’s a slight chance that he could end up missing his entire sophomore season. Looks like the Packers will have to find production along the defensive line elsewhere.
Speaking of which, there’s been some buzz surrounding 2013 first-rounder Datone Jones, who could step in to fill the void with Worthy out indefinitely. The former UCLA standout is a physical, athleticism defensive end who should see immediate action for the Packers. If his play can rival his confidence, Green Bay will be getting plenty from this rookie in 2013. The Vikings’ offensive line better beware, because Jones isn’t here to play games.