NFC North Tour: Tight Ends

In an accompanying piece to our look at the Packers' tight ends, here's the scoop on Green Bay's NFC North rivals.

Chicago Bears

Starter: Greg Olsen. Backups: Brandon Manumaleuna, Kellen Davis, Desmond Clark.

Olsen caught fewer passes for fewer yards, but became more of a complete tight end under offensive coordinator Mike Martz by improving his blocking, especially in blitz pickup. In two regular-season games against the Packers, Olsen caught 10 baslls for 93 yards and a touchdown. He had three receptions for 30 yards in the NFC title game after blistering Seattle for three catches, 113 yards and a 58-yard touchdown in the divisional round. Manumaleuna is listed as a fullback, but is actually a blocking H-back, with the emphasis on blocking. Davis is big and athletic, which he showed with a 39-yard touchdown grab in the divisional-round victory over the Seahawks, which was just his second catch of the season. Clark was unable to get on the field for most of the season.

Detroit Lions

Starter: Brandon Pettigrew. Backups: Tony Scheffler and Will Heller.

This position is set, with Pettigrew (71 catches, four touchdowns) and Scheffler (45 and one) combining for 116 catches and five scores. They combined for 17 catches in the two games against Green Bay. Pettigrew shattered all of the team's single-season records for tight ends and he's only 25. Scheffler, signed to a two-year extension, did his best work as a slot receiver, filling in for injured receivers. He just turned 28. Heller is a superb blocker and rumbledf or the only touchdown in the upset win over Green Bay. It was no coincidence that the Lions' running game perked up when Heller started getting more playing time late in the season.

Minnesota Vikings

Starter: Visanthe Shiancoe. Backups: Jim Kleinsasser, Jeff Dugan.

Shiancoe's reception total dropped from 56 in 2009 to 47 this season and his touchdowns went from a career-high 11 to only two — including five catches for just 36 yards and no touchdowns in two games against Green Bay. Shiancoe did a good job of hiding his frustration but there is little doubt he wants to be more involved going forward. Shiancoe is easily the team's best pass-catching tight end. Kleinsasser, whose 17 receptions were his most since he had 22 in 2005, remains a top-notch blocking tight end. Dugan can play both tight end and H-back. He caught four passes and must battle for a roster spot every year.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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