NFC North Blog
Lions running back Mikel Leshoure didn't get much of a chance last season. He got two carries in three games. Otherwise, he was a healthy scratch. Even with Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, and Theo Riddick in front of him, the former second-round pick is trying to stay positive now that a new coaching staff is in Detroit.
"They give everyone a fresh start," Leshoure said. "I feel like that's what I needed. It's fair game now, and I can just go out there and compete.
"I just got to prove I can be available for this team, and just be able to help. Bein' there, and when my number's called, bein' ready."
But Leshoure must prove that he can be useful at a significantly higher weight than what he checked into the league at just two years ago. When he was drafted, Leshoure was 227 pounds. This year, he entered camp at he 242.
What does a team gain by exposing a veteran workhorse running back to punishing contact in exhibition games? If you're the VIkings or 49ers, it appears the answer is nothing.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer told NFL.com's Ian Rapoport on Monday that he has "nothing to see" from Adrian Peterson in preseason games. He said Peterson may get a carry or two if he really wants them, but the team may just hold him out until September.
Zimmer's statement comes a day after ESPN's Bill Williamson wrote that Frank Gore is unlikely to suit up for San Francisco's preseason action. Given the 49ers' recent injuries at running back with Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James, they don't want to risk one to their leading man.
Lions wide receiver Golden Tate began training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform List, but as expected, he didn't stay there long. The Lions activated Tate, and he took part in his first practice with his new team Monday. Tate landed on the list after landing on his shoulder awkwardly during OTAs in May.
Certainly, Adrian Peterson has no problem with carrying the rock whenever his name is called. He's done it about 300 times for seven years, even when defenses knew full well what was coming. However, with playmakers such as Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings on the outside and with aggressive play-caller Norv Turner designing things, Peterson thinks the 2014 Vikings will be very difficult to defend.
"Let's call it what it is: I thought in the past, we've been predictable," Peterson told reporters Monday. "I'm sure you guys wrote stories about us being predictable the past seven years. You won't be able to write that story this year. That's pretty much all I'm saying. You won't be able to do that, because this offense is so versatile."
Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has a foot injury that has kept him from practicing with the team during the first few days of camp so far. However, he isn't expected to be out much longer, according to head coach Mike Zimmer.
"He's improving every day," Zimmer said of Patterson on Friday.
Patterson injured his foot last week, but the chatty wideout offered up no comment when asked how he injured it or what is exactly wrong.
Teddy Bridgewater is making a quick ascent up the pecking order of quarterbacks in Minnesota.
According to FOX Sports' Jay Glazer, the rookie is already splitting first-team reps in practice with Matt Cassel, and there is "hugeeee optimism" for his future.
"May not be Week 1 starter but he's definitely been more impressive than [coaches] expected," Glazer tweeted about Bridgewater on Sunday
The Vikings' quarterback of the future may become their quarterback of the present. If he does, one should expect a lot of connections between Teddy Bridgewater and Kyle Rudolph this year and over the next five years.
The Vikings signed the 24-year-old tight end on Sunday to a five-year contract extension through 2019. The extension is worth $36.5 million. Rudolph was limited to eight games last season because of a broken foot, but he is not feeling any effects from it in camp.
Nelso signed an extension with the Packers that will tie him to the team through the 2018 season, and includes $14.2 million in guaranteed money. The 29-year-old Nelson has spent his entire career in Green Bay, and produced some of the highest numbers for WRs in the NFL since he joined the team in 2008. Last season, Nelson caught 85 passes for 1,314 yards and eight touchdowns.
Lions beat writer Kyle Meinke predicts RB Theo Riddick will have chances to play a 'Sproles-like' role in the Lions offense writing "If the Riddick hype is for real -- and at this point, there's no reason to suspect otherwise -- then Riddick could fill a kind of Darren Sproles-like role in the offense." Riddick only had 13 carries last season but has seen praise from teammates and coaches during the offseason. If this prediction is true, the Lions running backfield could be one of the best in the NFL while also featuring Reggie Bush and Joique Bell.
Packers running backs coach Sam Gash tells the Green Bay Press-Gazette he has no concerns at all about overusing Lacy. "If he gets 40 (carries a game), I'm ok with that," Gash said. "He has huge upside." Last year Lacy touched the ball an average of 21 times per game, and it sounds as though that number is set to increase this sesason. Gash also dispelled the notion that the Packers will try to preserve Lacy for future seasons. "You're not going to play this game until you're 45 or 50," Gash said. "He'll last as long as he's meant to last."