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 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:


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.


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.


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.


Kansas City - WP: J. Vargas 6 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 2
Toronto - LP: M. Castro 5 FINAL
Boston - WP: K. Uehara 6
Chicago WSox 0 Postponed
Baltimore 0
Tampa Bay - LP: B. Gomes 1 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: J. Wilson 4
Washington - LP: D. Fister 4 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: E. Stults 8
NY Mets - WP: C. Torres 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: S. Cishek 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 6 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Marquis 9
Pittsburgh - LP: V. Worley 0 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Hammel 4
Seattle - WP: T. Walker 3 FINAL
Texas - LP: Y. Gallardo 1
Detroit - WP: D. Price 5 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: T. Milone 4
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 4 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Lackey 1
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 5 FINAL
Arizona - LP: C. Anderson 4
Houston - WP: P. Neshek 9 FINAL
San Diego - LP: J. Benoit 4
San Francisco - LP: T. Lincecum 3 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: C. Frias 8
Atlanta 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 120
Milwaukee 94 FINAL
Chicago 88
Memphis 92 FINAL
Portland 99
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Detroit 2
NY Islanders 1 FINAL
Washington 2
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