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NFC North Roundup: Final cut fever comes to a close as opening week awaits

The division prepares for its opening week clashes as the annual final cut frenzy trims rosters down to 53 men.

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s finally here. Week one of the NFL regular season.

As the Green Bay Packers finalize their roster ahead of a much anticipated first game matchup with the Chicago Bears, the franchise will officially kick off its 100th season. While there were some mild surprises during cutdown week, including the release of Vince Biegel, Ahmad Thomas, and Aaron Ripkowski, the Packers’ key players remain mostly healthy and intact. A new-look defense, debut of Jimmy Graham, and return of Aaron Rodgers point to another exciting season in Green Bay.

Around the NFC North, a black Saturday came and went for many roster hopefuls and established veterans. In Minnesota, the tenure of a career Viking defensive end came to a close while another former defensive player will join the team in another role. The Bears also will have a new potential Monster of the Midway with the arrival of Khalil Mack via trade, while the Lions released one of their bigger free agent acquisitions.

Here’s a look at final cuts around the division and a couple newcomers in today’s roundup.

Detroit Lions

Week 1: vs. New York Jets

Lions establish 53-man roster

Here is a full recap of the Lions’ moves on cutdown day to get to 53 players.

DeShawn Shead is Lions’ most surprising cut, Zach Zenner to IR

The Lions’ free agent signing at cornerback was released after training camp despite a $1.5 million signing bonus.

Detroit Lions signing ex-Eagles RB Donnel Pumphrey to practice squad

Even after adding LeGarrette Blount and Kerryon Johnson, the Lions are bringing in another running back in the form of the the NCAA Division I’s all-time leading rusher*.

*(Editor’s note: this is only because the NCAA record book doesn’t count bowl game stats from before 2002. If it did, Ron Dayne would still hold the record.)


Chicago Bears

Week 1: at Green Bay

Bears announce 53-man roster

Saturday’s final cuts in Chicago are detailed here. The Bears will go into the season with just two quarterbacks on the roster.

Bears trade safety Deiondre’ Hall to Eagles

As the Packers cut ties with a former fourth-round pick in Biegel, so did the Bears with 2016 pick Deiondre’ Hall after just eight games with the squad.

Bears trade for DE Khalil Mack, sign record extension

Of course, this roundup would not be complete without a rundown on the Mack acquisition by Chicago. A brief recap of trade and contract details here.


Minnesota Vikings

Week 1: vs. San Francisco

Cuts Are In: The Minnesota Vikings Have a Final 53-Man Roster

This breakdown of the Vikings’ roster provides a look at how the final cut day shook out in Minnesota, especially at a competitive wide receiver position.

Vikings releasing 12-year veteran Brian Robison

The most surprising and sentimental move of the day was Minnesota’s decision to part ways with the long-time veteran defensive end Robison, a Viking mainstay.

Vikings Terence Newman starts new NFL career as Nickel/Defensive Backs Coach

In a little bit different kind of roster move, the 40-year old Newman retired from the NFL after 15 seasons and will immediately join the Vikings’ coaching staff as a wily veteran of Mike Zimmer’s defensive system.