NFC North player wire

Summary of news and notes on individuals within the division

LS Rob Davis, the team's oldest player, is a good bet to still be playing in Green Bay when he hits the big 4-0 late in the 2008 season. He remains one of the best at his specialty and commands the respect of a locker room filled with much-younger players.

-- TE Ryan Krause, a better receiver than blocker, offered little after being promoted from the practice squad at midseason. His return to the team probably hinges on whether Bubba Franks, a potential cap casualty, is back.

-- CB Frank Walker, the team's lone addition of note in the offseason last year, probably won't see a second season in Green Bay. The writing was on the wall when he was deactivated for the NFC Championship loss to the Giants, his former team.

-- QB Craig Nall returned to the team late in the season as the No. 3 guy at the position. Nall, though, isn't interested in continuing to serve as the caddie for both Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.

-- T/G Tyson Walter spent the entire season on injured reserve because of a toe injury. The versatile, rugged veteran is worth bringing back to compete for a backup spot.

-- LB Tracy White was limited late in the season by an ankle injury. The special-teams ace figures to be back in a Packers uniform.

-- DT Corey Williams is the only unrestricted free agent of significance and stands to get rich quick on the open market. As valuable as he's been the last two years as an interior pass rusher, team management doesn't view him as irreplaceable because of the depth at tackle.

-- DT Colin Cole, a run stuffer, figures to stay put and will try to rebound from a season-ending broken forearm he sustained in the Thanksgiving Day game.

-- SS Atari Bigby thrived as a relentless, fearsome first-year starter but will have to rectify inconsistencies to remain in the lead role.

-- RB Vernand Morency, relegated to a situational role after missing the entire preseason with a knee injury, isn't a must-have for next season but probably will be in the offseason competition for the backup jobs.

-- RB Ryan Grant proved to be a godsend for a previously anemic running game the second half of the season and can write his ticket as a franchise back by racking up proficient performances for a full season.

-- WR Carlyle Holiday, a converted quarterback, missed all but the season-opening game with a knee injury but, when healthy, has shown to be a dynamic situational receiver.

-- TE Tory Humphrey might be down to his last strike to overcome an injury history that includes a season-ending broken leg suffered on the first day of training camp last year.

-- FB John Kuhn made his mark as a lead blocker down the stretch of the season, setting up an offseason battle with Korey Hall for the starting job.

-- WR Ruvell Martin has been a capable, tall target as a possession receiver but will be in a crowded battle to stick with the team as the No. 4 or No. 5 guy.

-- TE John Gilmore has a niche as the blocking member of the Bears' troika, but with Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark around, he's expendable.

-- DT Tommie Harris' knee scope is considered minor.

-- NT Dusty Dvoracek's torn ACL should be fine by training camp, since the injury occurred in the 2007 season opener.

-- CB Nate Vasher (groin) is already considered healed after missing 12 weeks during the season.

-- RB Cedric Benson (fractured ankle) says he'll be 100 percent by camp, but he will probably be on a limited schedule, maybe through the preseason.

-- S Kevin Payne (fractured arm) is 100 percent after being injured in Week 4 and missing the season.

-- DT Antonio Garay (fractured ankle) is questionable for the start of training camp.

-- LB Brendon Ayanbadejo wants to be the league's highest paid special-teams ace, but he won't get that kind of money from the Bears, even though he is outstanding in that realm. He's not a factor in the defense.

-- WR Bernard Berrian has great speed and big-play capability, but he's fragile and has had just one big season. The Bears could franchise him, but it's doubtful they'd commit $7.8, even if he is their top wideout.

-- LB Lance Briggs has been voted to three straight Pro Bowls, but the Bears have backed away since he spurned a six-year, $30 million offer two years ago, although Brian Urlacher's neck injury could force the team to re-examine its stance on Briggs.

-- OG Ruben Brown missed the final eight games of the season with a shoulder injury that required surgery, which, after 13 NFL seasons, is probably a career ender.

-- DT Antonio Garay is a bottom-of-the-depth chart player who finished the season on I.R. with a fractured ankle.

-- QB Rex Grossman has been wildly inconsistent the past two seasons. The Bears would like to have him around to compete for the starting job, but they will not pay him a starter's salary until he earns the job, which he will have to do even if he is retained.

-- DT Jimmy Kennedy was signed at the end of the season only because of an injury epidemic, and he got enough snaps to prove that he still can't play.

-- WR Rashied Davis is a tough, little, dependable guy suited to the slot or as a No. 4 wideout, and he contributes on special teams.

-- S Brandon McGowan is a big hitter with potential, but he's inconsistent as a pass defender and has an injury history.

-- LB Boss Bailey's playmaking has not matched his athleticism. He probably won't be back.

-- S Idrees Bashir could be back because the Lions need depth in the secondary.

-- RB Tatum Bell asked for a trade after his role was reduced last season. He promptly disappeared from the lineup. Will not be back.

-- RB Aveion Cason was a favorite of Mike Martz's. The other coaches might want him back for depth.

-- RB T.J. Duckett didn't get the ball much in 2007, but he ran well when he had it. The Lions want him back.

-- CB Travis Fisher went from nickel back to starting corner in 2007, and the Lions would like his veteran presence in '08.

-- OT George Foster struggled at right tackle and was benched multiple times -- finally permanently. Won't be back.

-- LB Teddy Lehman has not been the same since suffering a serious foot injury and probably won't be back.

-- QB J.T. O'Sullivan caught Mike Martz's eye and became the surprising choice for the backup job. The Lions likely would prefer to develop draft picks Dan Orlovsky and Drew Stanton.

-- DE Corey Smith is a valuable role player who finds ways to make plays. Rod Marinelli will want him back.

-- TE John Owens might be wanted back for depth.

-- CB Keith Smith has not developed as hoped, but he's still a young player and the Lions need depth.

-- OL Barry Stokes was signed late in the season when the Lions had problems on the offensive line. He was cut earlier, though, and probably won't be back.

-- OL Damien Woody lost his job at right guard, but filled in late at right tackle and played well. The Lions would like him back at right tackle.

-- WR Troy Walters was a solid fifth receiver and return man. The Lions would like him back.

-- DL Langston Moore was a valuable role player with a knack for making players. Coach Rod Marinelli will want him back.

-- QB Dan Orlovsky has gotten virtually no chance to play since being drafted in the fifth round in 2005. The Lions might want to see what they've got.

-- G Stephen Peterman beat out Damien Woody for the starting right guard job. The coaches love his toughness.

-- CB Stanley Wilson has not developed as expected. He lost his job as a starting corner in 2007. But he's a young player, and the Lions need depth.

-- DB Greg Blue played well in a brief stint at safety and could be brought back for depth.

-- WR Devale Ellis spent 2007 in the physically unable to perform list with a knee injury.

-- TE Sean McHugh started at tight end after Dan Campbell was injured in 2007. It is unclear how he fits into the Lions' plans now that Campbell is healthy and Mike Martz is gone.

-- DB LaMarcus Hicks has been unremarkable, but he could be brought back for depth.

-- S Mike Doss made little impact in first season with the Vikings; likely will be allowed to find work elsewhere.

-- WR Robert Ferguson didn't put up big receiving numbers, but did an excellent job of downfield blocking. Has expressed a desire to remain with the Vikings.

-- DL Spencer Johnson is an effective player but is stuck behind Pro Bowl tackles Kevin and Pat Williams. Might want to test his value.

-- RB Mewelde Moore was used primarily on punt returns, veteran is almost certain to explore options in hope of getting more playing time at running back.

-- FB Tony Richardson was a member of NFC Pro Bowl team this season, veteran wants to return but it will have to be at the right price.

-- DL Darrion Scott had 2007 season ended early by injury after recording team-high 5.5 sacks the previous year.

-- LB Dontarrious Thomas is stuck behind Chad Greenway, E.J. Henderson and Ben Leber, Thomas and has found himself used mostly on special teams.

-- S Tank Williams might look for a starting job after playing behind Darren Sharper and Dwight Smith this season.

-- CB Ronyell Whitaker was used primarily on special teams; the Vikings have the right of first refusal on him.

-- LB Heath Farwell, who is scheduled to become a restricted free agent, is a special teams ace who is almost certain to remain in Minnesota.

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