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NFC NORTH ROUNDUP: Draft Day is Coming

The fifth season of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones premiered last night, but even Tyrion Lannister can’t replace the Minnesota Vikings on Sundays. For fans of the show, “Winter is coming” has become a rallying cry and popular meme that embodies the success of the George R.R. Martin adaptation.

For those not engrossed by “A Song of Fire and Ice”, the tales of Westeros pale in comparison to the drama that surrounds NFL Draft season. I’ll stop talking “geek” and get straight to the point, though — “Draft Day is coming”, and soon, Rick Spielman will have to make a decision with the 11th-overall pick. Brace yourselves, Vikings fans.


Here’s what’s happening around the rest of the NFC North:

Green Bay Packers:

Packers general manager Ted Thompson pulled a Joffrey Lannister this offseason, releasing inside linebackers Brad Jones and A. J. Hawk and effectively gutting the middle of his defense. With their release, Sam Barrington sits alone atop Green Bay’s depth chart, and the third-year player is confident he will enter the season as the team’s starting middle linebacker:

[quote_box_center]”I’m not approaching it that it ‘could’ be,” Barrington said. “I’m approaching like it is. When you take out all the pleasing everybody’s emotions, I’m the veteran inside linebacker. It’s my defense. What’s mine right now is mine to lose. So I approach it with a serious mentality.”[/quote_box_center]

The quote comes from an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tyler Dunn, who detailed the Packers’ thin situation at linebacker. The 24-year-old Barrington joins Clay Matthews as Green Bay’s two most veteran linebackers, and many expect Thompson to use his first round pick on a rookie at the position. Until Barrington has a full season under his belt, he’d be best-served talking with his shoulder pads.

Detroit Lions:

When Eric Ebron was selected 10th-overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, he was expected to make an immediate impact. Unfotunately, Ebron caught just 25 passes for 248 in his rookie season and reportedly struggled to learn the Lions’ playbook during training camp. His 8.5 percent drop rate in 2014 frustrated fans, who have criticized the organization for investing so much and receiving so little from Ebron.

On Sunday night, Ebron took to Twitter, where he called out his critics:

[quote_center]”Why Are There So Many Haters On Social Media. It Behoves Me That You Can Talk About Someone Successful From A Computer At Your Mom’s Crib”[/quote_center]

As Ebron points out, people take to social media to bash everyone from celebrities to professional athletes. On such a public platform, the vitriol should come with a grain of salt. Although he’s correct to assume that these people “troll” from behind a computer screen, Ebron won’t improve his perfomance on the field if he’s worried about grown men living in their mom’s basements. I fully believe Ebron can be the Lions’ third option in the passing game, but he needs to take a tip from Tiger Woods — ignore all distractions.

Chicago Bears:

Charles Tillman spent 12 years in Chicago, where his record-setting performance on the field paled in comparison to the charitable work he did away from the gridiron. Tillman’s 36 interceptions are the most among cornerbacks in Bears history, and his 9 defensive touchdowns stand as a franchise record. Through his Cornerstone Foundation, Tillman has helped provide resources and opportunities to more than one million Chicago-area children since 2005.

The 2013 Walter Payton Man of the Year signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers last week, but departed Chicago a beloved figure in Bears history. Below, an advertisement Tillman placed in the Chicago Sun Times thanking his fans and supporters:

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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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  1. That Wisconsin team’s defense has been a liability since Reggie White. If they miss on the draft they will be bottom five on defense. Of course, they have the greatest QB I’ve seen in my 35 years so they’ll still win the division. The team east of us is a paper tiger. Detroit has peaked, which is sad. Chicago is where we were 5 years ago, old and retooling. The Vikings are young and talented with a young guy at QB that might be the best thing we’ve seen since Fran. I’m finally optimistic as a Vikings fan.

    1. if the packers D truly slips into the bottom five this year, then i think the vikings win the division i dont care how great rodgers is, but i think they will be in the 20’s in total D which will make things very interesting.

  2. Kudos for concentrating for the Bears on Tillman. The guy is a real stand up dude. And a beast in the defensive backfield. Yes, he will be missed even in Minnesota.