NFC North notebook

There are no questions so far about Bears rookie TE Kellen Davis, but rookie WR Bennett has been inconsistent; Lions nursing injuries through offseason camp.

Fifth-round tight end Kellen Davis arrived from Michigan State with some questions about his work ethic that caused him to slip in the draft, along with an aggravated assault charge stemming from a fight at an off-campus party 19 months ago. But the Chicago Bears were convinced he was worth the 158th pick. So far, he hasn't disappointed them, and coach Lovie Smith said he isn't worried about the character concerns.

"Kellen Davis has been good two days in a row," Smith said at the end of the rookie minicamp in early May. "We wouldn't bring any guys in unless we felt good about them being a good part and a big part of our team, fitting in and all that. We haven't seen any (problems)."

The 6-foot-7, 262-pound Davis is a virtual lock to replace free-agency loss John Gilmore as the No. 3 tight end, as long as he shows more willingness to use his excellent size and athleticism as a blocker than he did in college.

— Third-round wide receiver Earl Bennett had an inconsistent first practice at rookie minicamp, showing soft hands on some catches but dropping at least a couple easy ones.

"When I first came out, I was a little nervous, jittery," said the all-time leading receiver in the Southeastern Conference. "I'm playing at the biggest stage right now, my first practice. But overall I think I came out and did OK. Any time a ball hits my hands, I consider it a drop, so I dropped a couple. But I'll just try to make it up and catch the next ball that comes to me."

Smith said he expected some nervousness from all the rookies.

"They know that this is the most important job interview they've ever had," he said, "and they know what's at stake."

— Southern Illinois quarterback Nick Hill was one of 10 undrafted free agents at the Bears' rookie minicamp, and he came in with impressive stats, but the other undrafted free-agent quarterback, Colorado State's Caleb Hanie, threw the ball more accurately than Hill.

Still, the SIU lefty had his moments.

"He looked smooth," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "We sent him some stuff earlier in the week, and it was evident that he studied it, that he got into the playbook a little bit. He had a pretty good grasp of stuff."

With only Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton returning at quarterback, the Bears are looking to add at least one more to the final roster and maybe another to the practice squad.


— The Vikings will hold their mandatory minicamp June 6-8. The team has several organized team activities scheduled this month.

— Several Vikings assistants attended a recent coaches symposium at which NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was among the speakers. The list included Vikings coordinators Darrell Bevell (offense), Leslie Frazier (defense) and Paul Ferraro (special teams). Running backs coach Eric Bieniemy and special teams assistant Brian Murphy also were on hand.

— QB John David Booty, drafted by the Vikings in the fifth round, had worn No. 10 at Southern Cal. That number belonged to Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton and has been retired by the Vikings. Thus, Booty has decided to go with No. 4. "That's my little brother's number," Booty said.

— Chris Berrian, the younger brother of Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian, is hoping to be part of the U.S. track and field trials this summer in Eugene, Ore. Chris Berrian runs the 2,000 meters.

— The Vikings' top draft pick, second-round safety Tyrell Johnson, is happy to work alongside former Packer Darren Sharper.

"It's a tremendous opportunity for me to get better and for me to work with a veteran. He has a lot to teach me and I have a lot to learn. It is two things that mix and go together," he said.


A few players aren't participating in the Lions' organized team activities because of injuries, such as wide receiver Shaun McDonald and safety Daniel Bullocks (knees). Coach Rod Marinelli is not concerned.

"Right now I don't anticipate any problem with anybody being ready to go," Marinelli said.

Tight end Dan Campbell (elbow) might be the exception. "He's one we're just going to have to kind of wait and see," Marinelli said. "I want to be smart with Dan. We've just got to be smart with him. He's been rehabbing well. It's been a successful surgery. I think everybody else should be fine. I'll be careful with him, cautious."

— Bullocks is progressing well and might participate a little in the mandatory minicamp May 20-22.

"The trainer feels good; he loves where he's at," Marinelli said. "I think the minicamp he may have a chance to start doing some more work. By camp, they think, he's going to have a chance to be ready to go."

— Running back Tatum Bell looks a bit heavy, but it's only May.

"He might be up there a little bit more, yeah," Marinelli said. "But like I told these guys — told them all — just make sure we're aware of where we're at. Right now, it's still the offseason. But I want to make sure we're working toward the perfect weight to enter camp. I'm aware of every guy. They're made aware of where I want them."


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