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NFC NORTH: 2022 offseason primer

The NFC North has the potential to look a lot different in 2022. Minnesota and Chicago are going through the process of new general manager and head coach hires, and things in Green Bay could look a lot different as quarterback Aaron Rodgers mulls his future.

Here's an NFC North primer to kick off the offseason:


2021 record: 13-3 (won division)

Key free agents: WR Davante Adams, CB Rasul Douglas, LB De'Vondre Campbell, TE Robert Tonyan, WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling

2022 strength of schedule: 22nd, opponents had a .478 (137-150-2) win percentage in 2021

Draft picks: 1st (28), 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 7th

(Note: The list of picks for all teams does not include potential compensatory picks, which are awarded by the NFL in March to teams that lost more free agents than they signed the previous offseason.)

3 key positions of need: WR, Edge, LB

Twentyman: It will certainly be an interesting offseason in Green Bay. The first domino that has to fall is quarterback Aaron Rodgers' decision to come back or not. Will he retire or want to play somewhere else? He did recently say he doesn't want to be part of a rebuild, and Green Bay has some tough cap decisions to make this offseason.

Rodgers told Pat McAfee on The Pat McAfee Show this week he'd make a decision before the Packers have to make a decision on Adams with the franchise tag or in free agency. What Rodgers decides will probably impact that decision, at least on Adams' part.

If Rodgers leaves, it would usher in a new era in Green Bay led by Jordan Love at quarterback, and reset things a bit in NFC North.


2021 record: 8-9

Key free agents: LB Anthony Barr, CB Patrick Peterson, DT Sheldon Richardson, DE Everson Griffen, TE Tyler Conklin, K Greg Joseph

2022 strength of schedule: 20th, opponents had a .484 (139-148-2) win percentage in 2021

Draft picks: 1st (12), 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 6th, 6th

3 key positions of need: CB, Edge, LB

Twentyman: The Vikings will have new leadership in the front office and at head coach in 2022.

The team recently hired former Browns VP of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to be their new GM. His pick for head coach after the team moved on from Mike Zimmer after eight seasons will be critical to the team's future. The Vikings have a lot of free agents on defense to sort through, and that side of the ball could look very different in 2022, both from a personnel and scheme standpoint.


2021 record: 6-11

Key free agents: WR Allen Robinson II, DT Akiem Hicks, G James Daniels, T Germain Ifedi, S Tashaun Gipson, TE Jimmy Graham, QB Andy Dalton

2022 strength of schedule: 24th, opponents had a .471 (135-152-2) win percentage in 2021

Draft picks: 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 5th, 6th

3 key positions of need: WR, CB, OT

Twentyman: Like Minnesota, Chicago undertook a complete reorganization in the front office and at head coach. The Bears hired former Chiefs assistant director of player personnel Ryan Poles to be their new GM. The Bears need the right hires at head coach and offensive coordinator to allow quarterback Justin Fields to take off in year two. One key spot for Poles to address this offseason is the future of Robinson and the wide receiver corps.

View the best photos of the 2021 season as chosen by Detroit Lions team photographer Jeff Nguyen.


2021 record: 3-13-1

Key free agents: S Tracy Walker, OLB Charles Harris, WR Josh Reynolds, LB Alex Anzalone, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, WR Kalif Raymond, FB Jason Cabinda

2022 strength of schedule: 28th, opponents had a .467 (135-154) win percentage in 2021

Draft picks: 1st (2), 1st (TBD), 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th

3 key positions of need: Edge, WR, S

Twentyman: The Lions have probably the most stability of any of the four teams in the division heading into the offseason with GM Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell fully entrenched in their roles. The Lions got a lot of snaps from their young players in 2021 and that should serve them well in 2022 and beyond.

The Lions are in a good spot with the salary cap when it comes to free agency, and they currently have three of the first 34 picks in April's NFL Draft. Holmes has some decisions to make with the team's 34 free agents, and they have to add talent at wide receiver and on defense, but overall the Lions are in a good spot heading into the offseason.

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