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NFC North Rundown: Lions and Bears look to mentorship from veteran linemen

A new defensive tackle in Detroit and a veteran right tackle entering his second year in Chicago are two players being counted on to help improve their respective lines.

Chicago Bears v Tennessee Titans Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

As the NFC North division gets set for mandatory minicamps this week, two specific units will be looking to significantly improve their production with the help of rookies and relatively new veteran signings.

Chicago’s offensive line has low expectations heading into this season, but the coaching staff is hoping that one of its returning veterans can take his game to a new level while pushing the team’s pair of draft picks. Meanwhile, Detroit’s defensive line will receive some Pro Bowl experience from one offseason trade as the Lions’ defense breaks in a new system and breaks in two early draft picks of their own.

Today’s rundown jumps into those potential mentors, while also touching on a group of “Friends” in Minnesota and a pair of former Green Bay Packers re-joining the division.

Chicago Bears

Ifedi embracing high expectations from Bears

The former Seattle first-round pick is hoping for Pro Bowl accolades in his second year with Chicago while mentoring a pair of rookie offensive tackles.

Bears’ offensive line ranked among NFL’s worst ahead of 2021 season

Ifedi is just one piece of a Bears line that is attempting to improve the outlook for a unit ranked 27th by Pro Football Focus heading into training camp.

Chicago Bears: 3 advantages Justin Fields has over Andy Dalton

Dalton may have significantly more experience at the NFL level than Fields, but the Bears could opt to start the rookie based on these three tangible and intangible factors.

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings reach deal to sign CB Bashaud Breeland

Adding experienced corner depth has been a priority for the Vikings throughout the offseason, and they added another in the form of a former Packer this past week.

If the Vikings Really Were “Friends”

Minnesota’s recent social media photo was the basis for this article comparing current Vikings players to the characters of the popular sitcom.

4 role players the Vikings should consider extending

Star players aside, here are a handful of young role players that could be candidates for affordable extensions.

Detroit Lions

Michael Brockers leading way for Detroit Lions’ new attacking defensive front

Detroit will have a pair of second-day draft picks along the defensive line in 2021, but the team is excited about one of its incoming veteran pickups acquired in the team’s other trade with Los Angeles.

Detroit Lions give themselves the L with new hat design

A New Era cap design made the rounds this week and represented a poor choice for a franchise seeking a winning culture.

Detroit Lions sign ex-Packers linebacker Reggie Gilbert

Besides Breeland signing with Minnesota, another former Packer defender is on the move within the NFC North.