NFC North Report: AP wants Plaxico

Vikings' running back Adrian Peterson said he hopes to have the opportunity to have wide receiver Plaxico Burress on his team. More news and notes inside from Detroit's division rivals.

Minnesota Vikings

  • Running back Adrian Peterson said he hopes to have the opportunity to have wide receiver Plaxico Burress on his team.

    "I would love him to be a part of my team," Peterson told scout.com. "He's a guy -- before he left the game for two years - he was one of the top receivers in the league."

    Comparing Burress to quarterback Michael Vick, Peterson said, "You look at Vick, when he came out, how explosive he was. I'm sure (Burress) is going to be on fire and he'll be ready to contribute to whatever team picks him up."

  • With stories swirling about the team's status with holding training camp in Mankato, the Vikings issued a statement Wednesday (June 15) that said, "The Minnesota Vikings continue preparations for hosting the team's 2011 training camp at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In respect to the University and the Mankato community, we have informed school officials that July 18 is the latest date to officially determine whether having training camp at Minnesota State University this year is feasible. The Vikings will maintain contact with University officials moving forward, and we remain hopeful we will practice in front of thousands of Vikings fans in Mankato later this summer."

    Coach Leslie Frazier said he talked with wide receiver Sidney Rice in April when the lockout was briefly lifted and communicated the team's interest in having him back.

    Rice is without a contract and has four accrued seasons in the NFL. That would have made him an unrestricted free agent in 2009, but restricted last year.

    No one knows yet what the free-agent requirements will be when the lockout ends and there is a new agreement.

    Said Frazier, "I talked to him in that brief window we had with that draft weekend and he was enthusiastic about maybe signing back with the Vikings. But he still wants to explore opportunities, and you can't begrudge him for that.

    "We'll just have to kind of wait and see what happens. Obviously, we'd love to have him back in Minnesota."

  • Look for the Vikings to be more aggressive this season with Fred Pagac as defensive coordinator. Pagac became the coordinator last season when Leslie Frazier was named interim head coach.

    When Frazier was then hired, he retained Pagac as defensive coordinator.

    Pagac told FOXSportsNorth.com, "As far as being aggressive, I'll probably call more blitzes - whether they be zone or man - than maybe Les did or maybe Mike (Tomlin) did, but that's my nature. That's what I do. We're the same defense that we were. We're the same type of defense."

    Tomlin was the Vikings' coordinator before becoming the Pittsburgh Steelers' head coach.

    While Pagac acknolwedged he will be "more aggressive," he added, "My philosophy of blitz is blitz for a reason. What's your reason for blitzing? Obviously, there's run blitzes and there's pass blitzes. We like to play the run. We like to stop the run. That's going to be our motto."

  • Defensive tackle Pat Williams told reporters there's a "50-50" chance he will return to the team. A free agent when the lockout ends, Williams had previously figured his days with the Vikings were ever.

    However, Williams said he heard from coach Leslie Frazier on the April day the lockout was briefly lifted and was told he is still in the team's plans.

    Williams admitted he was "soured" on the club's front office, but indicated during the conversation with Frazier they were able to "get some stuff straight."



Chicago Bears

  • Offensive coordinator Mike Martz recently turned down a one-year contract extension with the team because the offer did not include a pay increase. That leaves open the possibility Martz could be a coaching free agent after the 2011 season.

    Martz still believes things will eventually "work out." He said, "I have a representative in Bob LaMonte who's the best at what he does. I just do whatever he tells me to. He doesn't tell me how to coach, and I don't tell him how to negotiate. But he knows how badly I want to be here, and I would like an extension. I don't worry about it. I'm sure it'll work out."

    Asked about those latter feelings, Martz said last season "was as much fun as I've had in coaching in many years, and the reason why is Lovie (Smith) makes it fun. He's a terrific head coach. He provides great leadership, and he lets you do your job."

    As for quarterback Jay Cutler, Martz had nothing but praise for his ability and toughness.

    "He's resilient," Martz said. "He's going to pop back up (after being hit). And he really adjusts very well in games. Jay is very special. He hasn't even touched on what he can be yet. I know he feels good about where he is as a player, but I'm not even sure he knows how good he could be.

    "To me, he could be the very best in the league right now. Absolutely. We just have to get him there. There are some things we need to clean up. But he's on his way."

    Finally, Martz noted getting comfortable with the supporting cast.

    He said, "We're learning a lot about our guys, and what we can do and can't do," while noting it's unfair to compare the offense to what he had in St. Louis.

    "We were on a fast track, indoors, and we had a litany of receivers," Martz said. "One gets injured, and we'd trot another one out there. "(Ours are) good, but we're not as deep."

    Martz found a lot to like about Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle when he worked him out before the draft - enough that the Bears made him their fifth-round pick (160th overall).

    "Coach Martz had a real strong conviction on him, and we agreed with the traits that he saw," Bears director of player personnel Tim Ruskell said. "This guy looks good coming off the bus. He has the attributes, he has the traits that Mike's looking for at the position, so it was a good consensus.

    "He's a big guy, he's got a very strong arm, he's a very intelligent man, and an intelligent quarterback. He didn't have the stats his senior year, (because they) lost a lot of guys from the year before. Coach Martz really kind of fell for the kid in terms of the intangibles that he brings."

    The 6-4, 240-pound Enderle was a four-year starter who struggled along with the Vandals' program, going 17-29 as a starter. After completing 61.5 percent of his throws as a junior with 22 touchdown passes and just nine interceptions to lead the Vandals to an 8-5 record, Enderle completed just 56.7 percent of his throws last season with 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

    The Vandals' '09 season was their first winning campaign in 11 years.

    Enderle doesn't figure to see much playing time in the foreseeable future playing behind Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie, but he can use that down time to his advantage.

    "It's going to be different, but it's going to be good for me," he said. "I can really work on fixing some things that I want to fix and that need to be fixed, and that's going to give me the opportunity to do that. And then to really come in and learn the playbook and really prepare myself and get myself in a position where if I need to (play), I can."

    The selection of Enderle is evidence that the Bears weren't just paying lip service to the concept of developing their own quarterbacks, even though wide receiver and linebacker may have been more pressing needs. They also wanted to avoid last year's situation when they were forced to add 38-year-old veteran Todd Collins late in the preseason when Hanie was injured.

    "The value of the (quarterback) position (superseded) everything else in terms of other players at that point," Angelo said. "We want to develop our own quarterbacks, and we want to stay with that plan. We hit a speed bump last year, and we just felt like the plan is in place, and we feel very good with him coming on board."

Green Bay Packers

  • Defensive end Cullen Jenkins doesn't think he'll be back with the team next season, even though he wants to.

    Said Jenkins, "Green Bay has a heck of a team. The talent level and the depth, especially on defense, they have a lot of big-time play-makers on it. It's a great defense. Green Bay definitely has an opportunity to compete, not just next year but years down the road. And it would be nice to be a part of that."

    Jenkins is 30 years old and will be a free agent, so he expects the team to go in a different direction. That became apparent when he said the team showed no interest in negotiating a new contract even when he said he was willing to give a "hometown discount."

    Jenkins said, "Heading into last year, I've always been up there and always been a Packer, and I wanted to stay a Packer. So we approached the team and wanted to get some type of security, some type of longer-term deal before the season so I would know I would be there. It wasn't about money, it was about security, about trying to see if we could work something out."

    Asked if he' would have accepted less on a deal to stay, Jenkins said, "Yeah. That was the thought then. I knew in going to them, I know Green Bay, I know the market, I know how they handle business, and the thought was if we could get something reasonable worked out, I knew I would take less than what I could've gotten in free agency. But they never approached me with anything and never got any type of negotiations going. It's just how the business is. They had a lot of younger guys and felt they could move forward in that direction."

    One of those younger players is Mike Neal, a rookie second-round pick last year that missed most of the season because of a shoulder injury.

    Said Jenkins, "Mike has the ability to take over the game. For him, it's just a matter of getting in there and continuing to be a student of the game and learn it and he'll take it over."

    The uncertainty over where he will be next is difficult with the lockout situation.

    "I'm just waiting for this lockout to be over with so I can figure out what options I'm going to have," he said. "With this dragging on so long, it's almost like you have to put it out of your mind and not think about it.

    "It's one of those things that tests your patience. For most players, it's a matter of when they get to get back to work and when they get to start working out with their team. For me, I don't even know that."

    Meanwhile, Jenkins is expected to receive interest from the Redskins once the lockout ends, according to The Washington Post.

  • Rookie wide receiver Randall Cobb will be working out in Phoenix this week with Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald thanks to an invitation from Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings.

    Cobb said Jennings contacted him after the draft and suggested he make the trip to Phoenix.

    "I'm really looking forward to that," Cobb said. "There will be a lot of good receivers and quarterbacks there. They're going to help me to be an NFL receiver. I'll be there two weeks for sure or as soon as the lockout is over."

    Cobb said when he heard from Jennings, he told him, "I really want to hook up with him and Aaron (Rodgers) and learn as much as I can. He invited me out there and said if I needed a place to stay he would help me out. I'm really looking forward to working out with him." The Packers' second-round draft pick out of Kentucky, felt a sense of urgency to reach out to his new quarterback.

    The addition of Cobb gives the Packers potentially a multidimensional player they've never had. The converted quarterback not only excelled as a receiver his last two years at Kentucky, but he also had to be accounted for as a running back and even a left-handed thrower in what was coined the "WildCobb" formation, a spinoff of the Wildcat used by some teams.

    "This kid has some background as far as a quarterback. It just opens up additional opportunities," said Packers receivers coach Edgar Bennett. "You talk about a guy that's versatile. We're not game planning right now, but I'm pretty sure we'll take full advantage of what this kid is capable of doing."

    McCarthy, however, stopped short of saying he would make WildCobb a component of an explosive Packers offense triggered by Rodgers behind center.

    "To me, the Wildcat is a package of deceptive play, and how much you want to major in it is really your choice," McCarthy said. "But, Randall was not drafted so we could play the Wildcat. I'll just make that clear. Now, if we line up and do something like that, that'll be part of our deceptive packages that we have in every week."

    McCarthy did commit to giving the 5-10, 191-pound Cobb a shot to compete for the punt- and kickoff-return duties, which has been a deficiency for the Packers in recent years.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "He was kind of Kentucky's offense the last couple of years. So, we feel very fortunate to be able to add him to our team. I think he gives us a lot of versatility. He'll be a nice fit with our group." -- General manager Ted Thompson on the second-round selection of Kentucky receiver Randall Cobb.

  • Quarterback Matt Flynn has heard some of the chatter about moving to another team, but the backup to Aaron Rodgers says he's happy where he is.

    Said Flynn, "I love being a Packer and I'll be here as long as they want me. It's all kind of speculation right now, of what people want to write or whatever they want to say. You can't say that anybody wants me or doesn't want me. We'll see what happens. I just like where I am right now."

    Acknowledging that the Packers are "Aaron's team and it will be for a long time," Flynn added, "Everybody wants to play, but I know my role on the team. I know if I need to step in there I'm always prepared because I work just as hard as the next guy."

    Flynn played well in the team's loss to New England on Dec. 19 when Rodgers was out, gaining some notoriety because it was a Sunday night game.

    He said, "I've always been a confident person. I think my teammates and coaches always knew I could step in and do it. It was definitely nice to go out there and be able to do it, have the opportunity to have some success.

    "It probably did more for my teammates than it did for me personally because I've always been confident. It probably gives them a little bit more confidence if I need to step in."

  • While on the team's Tailgate Tour, Packers president Mark Murphy was asked about the team at some point honoring retired quarterback Brett Favre.

    Said Murphy, "Eventually, he'll come back into the fold. We are going to retire his number. He deserves that for what he did as a Packer. There are very few players in our history that had their number retired. He deserves it though. But it's a very, very meaningful honor and we want to do it at a time when it's meaningful for both him and the organization.

    "I think it's probably going to be a few years. We want to make sure that he's really retired first. We made that mistake when he first retired after the 2007 season. Ironically, we were going to retire his number and have a big ceremony at the opening game that next season against the Minnesota Vikings. Little did we know he'd end up playing that season for the Jets."

    Former Favre teammate Antonio Freeman was on the trip, and said, "This is a league and a world of second chances. So, I think at one point in time we'll have to give Brett Favre a second chance to come back home. He did have a very meaningful career here. I'm personally biased because he and I shared so many magical moments. He was my quarterback for, basically, my entire career. He was a guy who threw me all of my touchdowns.

    "Things like this, you're torn because as a player you see the drive to want to continue to play football, so you appreciate that. But you never appreciate the fact that he puts on purple on Sundays as his second career. So, that's a problem. But in due time, he'll be back."


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