NFC North Blog
Free agent Jermaine Gresham has been less than stellar but he's still the best TE left on the market. The only reason he hasn't signed a deal yet is because of offseason back surgery. In an interesting turn of events, Gresham is visiting with the Packers. He has already met with the Cardinals and has a contract on the table from the Saints. Gresham's expected to pick a team before training camp opens up.
The Bears have reportedly discussed the idea of signing free agent Jermaine Gresham. They have no proven pass-catching TE behind Martellus Bennett and could use the help in blocking as well. Gresham has been meeting with multiple teams this week including the Packers and Cardinals. He also reportedly has an offer on the table from the Saints. He is expected to decide on a destination prior to the beginning of training camp next week.
Second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is being projected to have a breakout sophomore campaign after a strong finish to 2014. He has been garnering praise from teammates and coaches. His tight end Kyle Rudolph called him a "great player" and says that he's noticed that Bridgewater is "very comfortable" in his role. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner may have given him the highest praise saying "he has no limits in terms of being able to learn and pick things up." Bridgewater himself explained why he feels so much more comfortable this year than last. "I have more of a feel for what the coaches are trying to do here, as far as game plan-wise," Bridgewater said. "Last year I was kind of learning my way around game plans and getting a feel for coaches Norv and Scott Turner and what they're asking of us. Having an understanding of the coordinator, I think I'm that far ahead this year."
Last season Cordarrelle Patterson was riding on the hype train next to Michael Floyd and Keenan Allen. Needless to say, that train was quickly derailed. Patterson fell flat on his face and ended up nothing more than a backup and fantasy afterthought. He completely understands that this is the season for him to step up or find himself on the unemployment line. "Last year is last year," Patterson said. "I'm trying to put that in the past. I tell everybody, I feel like this is the make-or-break-me year, man. I've got a lot to prove. I need to get back to the old me and have fun and not get too serious like I did last year … I feel like this is the best spring I've had all throughout my years. I'm just working hard, man. I've been talking in the past about my work ethic and just trying to get better in my routes. I feel like I've improved a lot … Just have fun and enjoy the moment. Football don't last forever, so go out there and play every down like it's your last and make sure you enjoy it … That urgency, it needs to be there for me every play."
Although Adrian Peterson is now 30 years old and missed nearly an entire year of football, it's no surprise to hear his head coach Mike Zimmer say that AP reported in great shape. Peterson is known for being an athletic freak and physical specimen. He's a real gym rat as well. Zimmer went as far to say "I'll probably have to hold him back more so than push him."
Adrian Peterson's confidence appears to be as high as ever after nearly a full season off. He's looking to set a career-high in rushing yards and this is coming from a guy that has already rushed for 2,097 yards in 2012. When asked about his expectations for this season, AP responded by saying, "I always keep the mark at 25 (2,500 yards). So if I get close to that, you know that's not bad."
Jordy Nelson had a great season in 2014. Nonetheless, he did struggle with consistency at time. Particularly against the Vikings and Bills late in the season and versus the Cowboys in the playoffs. Xavier Rhodes (MIN), Stephon Gilmore (BUF) and Brandon Carr (DAL) all played press coverage and got physical with Nelson. An NFC scout believes some teams may have figured him out. "Teams tried to beat him up in press man," one NFC scout said. "Maybe some teams figured him out."
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer did a Q-and-A with USA today and was asked about Adrian Peterson. His fantasy owners are going to be very happy with his response. He's going to see a lot of touches this season. "I don't see anything different really than what I've seen before," Zimmer said. "I feel like he's at peace with the situation. He's at peace with the team. I think he's excited about the potential that we have. So, I think he's going to run mean, because that's usually the way he does it … I saw that, too, and ... Adrian's going to get the heavy workload. So, the other guys are going to fight for their reps … As much as he can take, and as much as he can handle in all the things that we're doing. Obviously, we're going to have to spell him at times like you do a lot of guys. But we get down on the goal line, and we're probably not pulling him out, you know? He's our best player, and we're going to continue to use him."
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was recently asked what it's going to take for raw wideout Cordarrelle Patterson to become a productive football player. "Cordarrelle is on a good track right now," Zimmer said. "OK? Now, can he sustain? Can he continue to sustain what he's doing? Because like today, I thought he had a good day. In OTAs, I thought he improved. He'll have really good days, and then he'll have some not-so-good days. Really, I think what he needs to do is just the consistency every single day and the consistency in studying, the consistency in getting extra help that he needs if he needs it, running the routes the same all the time and understanding that there's a lot of great athletes that play professional sports, and there's a lot of great athletes that don't make it in professional sports because they don't have the other intangibles. To me, the biggest thing with him is that: Does he want to be 'Flash' or does he want to be a great receiver? I'm not trying to dog him or anything, but that's really what it is."
When the Vikings traded for Mike Wallace this offseason, they knew he came with baggage. He left Miami disgruntled and reportedly gave up on the team and was benched for the second half of the season finale after his teammate caught a touchdown pass instead of him. He also left Pittsburgh with less than stellar reviews from a personality standpoint. Now Wallace has acknowledged that he needs to improve as a leader, person and player. "I definitely have something to prove," Wallace said. "Everyone knows why I'm here. I have a lot to prove, man."