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NFC North Roundup: Preseason provides first glimpse of new skill position players

Green Bay’s rookie receivers were not the only offensive playmakers to catch attention in the first week of the exhibition slate.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A 31-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans ushered in a new season for the Green Bay Packers on Thursday evening in week one of preseason action around the NFC North. As the Packers’ new cast of offensive playmakers put together an impressive yet inconsistent first performance on the field, the same could be said elsewhere around the division.

Kirk Cousins’ debut in a purple-and-gold uniform was one highlight in week one, while the Detroit Lions received an optimistic lift from a couple of their running backs. Meanwhile, Chicago is still waiting for a wide receiver to emerge from its group of previous draft selections.

Here is the weekly buzz.

Detroit Lions (0-1)

Lost at Oakland, 16-10; Next vs. New York Giants

3 Detroit Lions who looked impressive in the preseason loss to the Oakland Raiders

Running back has been an ultra-consistent topic of discussion all offseason and two backs stood out immediately in week one.

Preseason opener great learning experience for Lions’ rookie OL Ragnow, Crosby

For two inconsistent rookie offensive linemen, live preseason action was an important first step in the maturation process. One fared a bit better than the other.

O’HARA: What we learned from Lions-Raiders

Undrafted rookies battling for a roster spot. A new head coach’s first game in command. A boost from one member of the defensive line. Mike O’Hara details all of those storylines here.


Chicago Bears (0-2)

Lost at Cincinnati, 30-27; Next at Denver

Stock up, stock down: Bears-Bengals

A second-year tight end showed long-awaited improvement against Cincinnati, while a rookie receiver turned in a rocky, learning curve performance.

Chicago Bears Rumors: Is Roquan Smith situation turning personal?

The elephant in the room is addressed here, as increased frustration mounts toward the still-unsigned first round pick. Patrick Sheldon provides his take on what may be holding up negotiations.

5 observations from re-watching the Bears-Bengals exhibition game

A former first-rounder failed to impress on offense, while another previous top pick might have some new pass-rushing tricks up his sleeve to contain Aaron Rodgers during the regular season.


Minnesota Vikings (1-0)

Won at Denver, 42-28; Next vs. Jacksonville

Kirk Cousins goes 4-for-4 with TD in preseason debut with Vikings

The Vikings’ $84 million man had a short but productive evening before giving way to former Bronco Trevor Siemian.

5 Takeaways from the Vikings Win Over Denver

Cousins was not the only standout from the first week of preseason action. With the loss of Jerick McKinnon in free agency, a three-headed monster is battling for the RB3 job in Minnesota.

The Vikings’ kicker “competition” is probably already over

After four converted extra points and two made field goals, including a 57-yarder, it appears Daniel Carlson has the Vikes’ kicking job all but sewn up.