Behind one of the most dominant campaigns for a quarterback of all-time, the Green Bay Packers took the NFC North in 2020, but a new group of faces will be coming after the title. Old archrivals in Chicago and Detroit have new QBs, while Minnesota is bringing in its fifth new offensive coordinator in the past five seasons. Are these teams looking to shake up their rosters this offseason and bring in fresh talent, or are they thinking that roster consistency can lead to improvement?
Green Bay Packers
Offensive Snaps Retained: 82.33% (11th in NFL)
Defensive Snaps Retained: 93.53% (second in NFL)
At least for the Packers, consistency seems to be the name of the game — an understandable choice after sporting top-10 units on both sides of the ball last year in a 13-win campaign. The defense is bringing back almost the entire group, retaining CBs Kevin King and Chandon Sullivan while LB Christian Kirksey (53.36% of snaps) was the only player with over 15% of snaps to get away. Losing bit players in DE Montravius Adams (12.66%), DT Billy Winn (3.99%), and DT Damon Harrison (1.17%) can likely point to a few late-round draft selections. The offense lost a few more pieces, most notably C Corey Linsley (70.64%) and OT Ricky Wagner (58.71%), but they retained one of the most efficient RBs in the NFL in Aaron Jones and also kept 2020 revelation TE Robert Tonyan. With RBs Jamaal Williams (40.23%) and Tyler Ervin (13.67%) seeing the door, A.J. Dillon now takes the mantle as the top backup at the position. It’s shaping up to be a strong follow-up campaign in Green Bay.
Offensive Snaps Retained: 84.09% (seventh in NFL)
Defensive Snaps Retained: 73.53% (15th in NFL)
After becoming the first beneficiary of the NFL’s new seventh playoff spot in 2020, the Bears have made modest changes this offseason to try to take the next step. QB Mitchell Trubisky (53.22%) has gone to Buffalo, while a declined option for RT Bobby Massie (43.88%) and free agency for TE Rashaad Coward (31.09%), TE Demetrius Harris (20.07%) and WR Cordarrelle Patterson (18.77%) will see a different group come in behind the starters next year. With a tight cap situation, the most painful cuts came in the secondary, with CBs Kyle Fuller (98.97%) and Buster Skrine (52.01%) moving on, although the team will also feel the losses of DE Barkevious Mingo (36.41%), DE Brent Urban (34.55%) and the underrated pairing of DTs Roy Robertson-Harris (22.88%) and John Jenkins (20.82%). The Bears are keeping their core in place for 2020 and hoping that Andy Dalton and their first-round pick can elevate the roster.
Offensive Snaps Retained: 85.34% (fourth in NFL)
Defensive Snaps Retained: 57.48% (29th in NFL)
With a set group of offensive stars at the skill positions, the Vikings instead will have to focus on filling the hole of departed OT Riley Reiff (92.62% of snaps). Bringing back OG Dakota Dozier will help, as will signing OT Rashod Hill, but a high draft pick may be in order. TE Kyle Rudolph (52.95%) and Canadian hero C Brett Jones (12.82%) also seem to be moving on, but the team seems to have ready-made replacements in TE Irv Smith Jr. and newly-acquired C Mason Cole. The league’s 29th-ranked defense will be looking for new pieces all across the field, especially with the losses of S Anthony Harris (100%) and LB Eric Wilson (96.28%). The defensive line will also be expecting a lot of production from new DTs Michael Pierce and Dalvin Tomlinson, because DE Ifeadi Odenigbo (64.80%), DT Shamar Stephen (61.64%) and DT Jaleel Johnson (60.89%) aren’t expected back, and Yannick Ngakoue (28.86%) is long gone. A pair of rotational defenders in LB Todd Davis (26.16%) and CB Chris Jones (24.86%) could as yet return, but co-defensive coordinators Andre Patterson and Adam Zimmer will need to use all of their combined talents to build cohesiveness in the unit.
Offensive Snaps Retained: 58.67% (31st in NFL)
Defensive Snaps Retained: 63.34% (27th in NFL)
Although he may be one of the more entertaining interviews, new Lions head coach Dan Campbell and new GM Brad Holmes are wasting no time reshaping the roster in their image. S Duron Harmon (98.13% of snaps), LB Reggie Ragland (50.00%), and LB Christian Jones (45.46%) are the biggest subtractions on the defense, but there’s also been a large turnover of the rotation-level depth that will show in a very new defense next year. DT Danny Shelton (44.40%) and CBs Justin Coleman (41.90%), Darryl Roberts (41.73%), and Desmond Trufant (28.83%) were all prized under former HC Matt Patricia, but are gone now along with DT Da’Shawn Hand (31.41%) and DE Everson Griffin (21.98%). With that amount of defensive turnover, it might be expected to see some offensive continuity because we’ve seen the other NFC North teams prioritize continuity on at least one side of the ball, but the Lions are fully going for it. Long-time face-of-the-franchise Matthew Stafford (92.35%) has been traded away, joined in exile by WRs Marvin Jones (89.77%), Danny Amendola (43.98%), Mohamed Sanu (23.04%), and Kenny Golladay (21.41%). OG Oday Aboushi (59.37%) isn’t returning along with TE Jesse James (44.36%), RB Adrian Peterson (29.92%), and rotational players OG Joe Dahl (25.14%) and special teams stud Jamal Agnew (19.02%). It’s a new day in Detroit, and the ability of the team to evaluate talent will be apparent very quickly.