Skip to main content

NFC NORTH: Biggest offseason changes for all four teams

It has been an offseason of change in the NFC North.

For the first time in maybe three decades the division doesn't automatically appear to go through Green Bay with a Hall of Fame quarterback at the helm. Minnesota has been forced to reshape their roster with some familiar names no longer on the team, Chicago went on a spending spree to improve their roster, and Detroit comes into the year as the consensus favorite to win the division.

Let's take a look at some of the biggest changes heading into 2023 for each team in the NFC North.


2022 record: 13-4 (won division)

Biggest change from 2022: Roster rollover

The Vikings underwent a roster overhaul this offseason moving on from some familiar veterans that have been key to their playoff runs over the years.

The biggest is running back Dalvin Cook, who rushed for 1,173 yards and eight scores last season and was named to the Pro Bowl. He was recently released in a cap-saving move and now it's the Alexander Mattison show in Minnesota's backfield in 2023.

Also gone are players like wide receiver Adam Thielen, linebacker Eric Kendricks, defensive end Za'Darius Smith and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. There's been reports of the Vikings even fielding trade calls for Pro Bowl edge rusher Danielle Hunter.

Twentyman: Credit Minnesota for winning 13 games and the division last year but it was a little fluky with them going 11-0 in one-score games, an NFL record. That's a lot of footballs bouncing Minnesota's way in close games. Can that continue?

Minnesota GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is moving on from some aging veterans and revamping the roster on defense under new coordinator Brian Flores. Things will look a lot different in Minnesota in 2023.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins is on a one-year deal before Adofo-Mensah has to decide the future of that position. Minnesota should be right there competing for the division title but there's a lot of new pieces that have to come together to make that a reality.

View some of the best photos from Detroit Lions offseason workouts, OTAs and minicamp.


2022 record: 9-8

Biggest change from 2022: Revamped secondary

Lions general manager Brad Holmes knew fixing Detroit's 32nd ranked defense had to be his main priority this offseason. The biggest change has come in the secondary.

After moving on from last year's starting cornerback duo of Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye, Holmes signed veterans Cam Sutton, C.J. Gardner Johnson and Emmanuel Moseley in free agency. That's likely the starting three cornerbacks, with Gardner-Johnson in the slot, as soon as Moseley returns to the field from a torn ACL suffered early last year.

Twentyman: Detroit ranked 29th against the pass last year and gave up too many big plays in the passing game. Good pass defense is a marriage between rush and cover. Holmes and the Lions think they have the players upfront to get to the quarterback.

With the veteran additions in the secondary, plus the return of safety Tracy Walker from a torn Achilles, they believe they will be much better in the cover aspect of the equation. Asked about the changes in Detroit's secondary this offseason, quarterback Jared Goff said the coverage was 'stickier' this spring vs. last.


2022 record: 8-9

Biggest change from 2022: No Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay has a new Week 1 starting quarterback for the first time since 2008. Rodgers had an amazing 18-year career with the Packers, who traded him to the New York Jets this offseason. He played in 230 regular-season games (third most in team history) with 223 starts and started 21 postseason contests. With Rodgers as the starting quarterback over the past 15 seasons, Green Bay made the playoffs 11 times, won the division eight times and won a Super Bowl title.

Now they hand the torch to Jordan Love, who they drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Twentyman: Love certainly has big shoes to fill as the next in line to start in Green Bay following Brett Favre and Rodgers. It's a young skill-position group around Love, but defensively the Packers should be pretty good.

I don't think Green Bay will struggle as much as some think they will without Rodgers, though it certainly will be an adjustment early on. Love has to show he can be accurate and deliver the ball on time in Matt LaFleur's offense.


2022 record: 3-14

Biggest change from 2022: Passing game should be much improved

Second-year quarterback Justin Fields accounted for 3,385 total yards and 25 touchdowns last season, rushing for 1,143 yards and joining Michael Vick and Lamar Jackson as the only quarterbacks to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark.

But Chicago only averaged 130.5 passing yards per game last year, which was last in the NFL by nearly 30 yards per game. Fields completed 60 percent of his passes for 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with few options to throw to.

That's not the case anymore with the addition of wide receiver D.J. Moore joining Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool and Equanimeous St. Brown and with Robert Tonyan signing at tight end to pair with Cole Kmet.

Twentyman: What impressed me about Fields last season was his completion percentage over 60 percent given the lack of weapons he had at the skill positions. We know how dangerous he is with his legs, and now Moore, Mooney and Claypool give him a solid trio at receiver to go along with talent at the tight end position and a running back in Khalil Herbert who could have a breakout season with David Montgomery now in Detroit.

Chicago still has some issues defensively along their d-line and in the secondary, but they are solid at safety and linebacker and should be better overall on that side of the ball.

If Fields and the passing game improve from last year, it's going to be the biggest reason why the Bears will be better record-wise.

Related Content