Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Around the NFC North: OTA edition

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: June 4, 2014 - 6:54 AM

Most NFC North teams are at the midway point of their OTA workouts with the exception of the Lions, who will have their final OTA session on Thursday. The Packers have three days of OTAs this week that started on Tuesday and will end on Thursday, like the Vikings. The Bears had two OTA workouts on Monday and Tuesday and will have another OTA on Thursday.

Here’s some of the latest news from the other NFC North teams over the last few days:

Packers

Wide receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are both entering the final years of their contracts. Will the Packers give both a long term deal? And an update from former Vikings defensive tackle Letroy Guion, who signed with Green Bay in the offseason.

Troubled rookie tight end Colt Lyerla signed with the Packers after a rookie minicamp tryout. Lyerla been humbled by the warm welcome he’s received in Green Bay and feels he has a new home. 

Speaking of Lyerla, the Packers are among the best in the NFL at finding late-round and undrafted players.

Observations from the Packers second open OTA on Tuesday.

JC Tretter, the team’s fourth round pick in 2013, is the leading candidate to start at center.  Evan Dietrich-Smith signed with the Bucs in the offseason.

Bears

Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery speaks on what it’s like to play alongside Brandon Marshall as the league’s top receiving duo.

Nothing like a good ol’ OTA scuffle. Tight end Martellus Bennett and defensive end Lamarr Houston were separated during Tuesday’s open OTA session.

Houston and former Vikings defensive end Jared Allen are giving the Bears confidence that they’ll be a better defense this year. They finished 30th in total defense, a spot ahead of the Vikings, last year.

Defensive tackle Nate Collins received full medical clearance on Monday.Safety Chris Conte isn’t sure when he’ll get cleared to practice, but he hasn’t had a setback from a shoulder procedure in March.

Lions

Defensive tackle Nick Fairley has dropped 27 pounds this offseason and underwent sleep apena surgery. The team declined to exercise Fairley’s fifth-year option as a move to motivate him this year.

Fairley isn’t the only one eating cleaner. The Lions have new chefs and a new menu at their facility to help the players eat healthier with fewer fried options.

Observations from Tuesday’s OTA session.

And probably the best (that was intentional) story this week from the NFC North -- rookie tight end Eric Ebron receives career advice from rapper DJ Khaled.

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Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Brooklyn 101 4th Qtr 2:00
Boston 104
Cleveland 6:00 PM
Orlando
Indiana 6:30 PM
Detroit
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Houston 7:00 PM
Memphis
San Antonio 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Charlotte 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
LA Lakers 7:30 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8:00 PM
Denver
Philadelphia 9:00 PM
Portland
Phoenix 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Illinois 9 3rd Qtr 13:21
Louisiana Tech 21
Rutgers 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 12/27/14 1:10 PM
Duke
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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