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NFC NORTH ROUNDUP: Calm Before the Storm

We’ve hit the slowest point of the offseason, as teams are gearing up for the 2015 NFL Draft and working tirelessly to finalize their rosters following the first few weeks of free agency. At home, fans are counting down the days to April 30th, pondering Minnesota’s options with the 11th-overall pick and dreaming of a potential DeVante Parker-Teddy Bridgewater reunion (I am).

As Peter King reported in his weekly MMQB column, the Vikings spent less money in free agency than 27 other teams — $9.3 million in total on 6 players. But, the Vikings weren’t as thrifty as their neighbors in Green Bay, as the Packers spent absolutely nothing in free agency, looking to build from within and through the draft.

Let’s take a look at the rest of the NFC North and see what our division rivals have been up to:

Green Bay Packers

Second chances do exist in the NFL — on Monday, the Packers re-signed DT Leroy Guion to a one-year, $2.75 million contract, per ESPN’s Adam Caplan. Guion, who spent 6 underwhelming seasons in Minnesota, signed with Green Bay in 2014 on a “prove-it” deal worth $1 million. He started every game for the Packers last year, recording a career-high 62 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

In February, Guion was arrested on felony firearm and marijuana possession charges after police recovered 357 grams of marijuana, a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, and more than $190,000 from a bag in his car. The charges were dismissed after Guion paid a $5,000 fine, but the defensive tackle could still face disciplinary action from the NFL.

ESPN also reported that the team re-signed B.J. Raji, who missed all of last year with a season-ending biceps injury. His absence made Guion a valuable addition in 2014, but Raji will look to reclaim his starting spot after signing a one-year, $3.5 million on Monday.

Detroit Lions

The Lions love to pass the football, but if they can’t keep Matt Stafford upright, their offense will flounder. Last season, Detroit’s offensive line allowed 45 sacks, a 95.7 percent jump from the previous year. Players like Dominic Raiola and Riley Reiff struggled to protect their franchise quarterback, forcing the front office to look at possible replacements this offseason.

One potential draft pick, Texas A&M’s Cedric Ogbuehi, visited the Lions on Monday, where he hoped to prove his status as a first-round talent. Ogbuehi started at right guard, right tackle, and left tackle in his 4 seasons at A&M, but still faces questions as he transitions to the NFL — an ACL prevented him from participating in the Combine or Texas A&M’s Pro Day. The Lions inspected his knee on Monday, and may consider the 6’5″, 306-pound tackle once they’re on the clock in April.

Chicago Bears

Fans in Minnesota have grown to loathe Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Actually, most NFL fanbases have soured on Cutler, who’s made a name for himself as one of the league’s most hated players. Vikings fans, in particular, rejoiced when head coach John Fox announced that the team would enter 2015 with an “open quarterback competition”.

Cutler was benched in Week 16 last season, replaced by Jimmy Clausen and left to scowl on the sideline. He signed a 7-year, $126.7 million contract in 2014, but has failed to live up to those lofty numbers (just ask Bears fans what they think of Cutler’s recent performances).

When asked about a competition, Fox shared this:

[quote_center]”I’ve had guys who were third on the depth chart that, by the time we started the opener, they were first. So I can’t tell you what’s happening. If I could, I’d be at some racetrack somewhere.”[/quote_center]

Hey, if that means former San Jose State quarterback David Fales has a shot at the job, I’m all for a competition in Chicago.

Look for next week’s roundup on Monday and be sure to check out Vikings Territory for all of the latest Vikings news!

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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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