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NFC NORTH: Positions of need for each team

With the Minnesota Vikings' loss in the NFC Championship Game, all four teams in the NFC North have now begun their offseason.

The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis takes place in less than a month, free agency begins shortly thereafter, and then the draft starts not long after that. Teams are kicking their offseason into high gear in the next few weeks.

So, let's take a look at some of the needs for the Vikings, Lions, Packers and Bears, and see what might be on their respective wish lists this offseason:


2017 record: 13-3 (division champs)

Biggest needs: QB, G, DT

First-round pick: No. 30

Twentyman: It's a little crazy to think that all three of their top quarterbacks – Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater – are all unrestricted free agents this offseason. At least one is likely to stay, but until they sign on the dotted line, there's a need there.

On the offensive line, Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers, two expensive free-agent acquisitions last offseason, played well in 2017 and are locked in at tackle. Pat Elflein figures to remain the starter at center. But there are a lot of question marks and a need at guard. Nick Easton is a restricted free agent and could be back, but Minnesota could still be in the market for another starter upfront at one of the guard spots.

Defensively, Minnesota was one of the best units in football this year, but defensive tackle Tom Johnson is a free agent and Shariff Floyd probably isn't returning. They could stand to boost the middle of the defensive front.


2017 record: 9-7

Biggest needs: DE, RB, DT

First-round pick: No. 20

Twentyman: Defensive end Ziggy Ansah (12.0 sacks) is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Even if he returns, the Lions could still use more talent at the position. Anthony Zettel showed promise (6.5 sacks) in his second season. Kerry Hyder Jr. is coming off a major Achilles injury. Will he be the same player who recorded eight sacks in 2016? Teams can never have too many pass rushers.

Running back really goes without saying. Detroit ranked last in the NFL in rushing this year, and need a back with size, speed and vision to help carry more of the load on offense.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is also a free agent. He's indicated he wants to come back, but he's also 34 years old, and the Lions need another long-term plan there alongside A'Shawn Robinson.


2017 record: 7-9

Biggest needs: OLB, TE, G

First-round pick: No. 14

Twentyman: One of Brian Gutekunst's first jobs as new general manager will be to help bolster a defense that ranked 28th in points allowed and 22nd overall.

The Packers were a middle-of-the-pack defense in terms of sacks (37) this season, and were led by Clay Matthews (7.5), who will be 32 years old next season. Matthews could make the move to inside linebacker next season, or there's been talk of him possibly being a cap casualty. Either way, Green Bay could use some help on the edge.

Last year's free-agent acquisition of Martellus Bennett didn't work out. Look for Gutekunst to be on the lookout for a tight end this offseason.

Starting right guard Jahri Evans is a free agent, and there could be a need there.


2017 record: 5-11

Biggest needs: WR, pass rusher, OL

First-round pick: No. 8

Twentyman: The biggest need in the windy city is to get second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky some help on the outside at receiver. Kendall Wright led the Bears in receiving last year with 59 catches for just 614 yards and one score. Trubisky needs more help than that on the outside. Chicago hasn't been able to trust former top 10 pick Kevin White because of his injury problems.

When healthy, Leonard Floyd is a terrific pass rusher, but he's missed a total of 10 games his first two seasons because of injury. The Bears should be on the lookout for another premium pass rusher to pair with him.

Chicago could be on the lookout for a new starter at right tackle, and could look to build depth at guard behind Kyle Long and Josh Sitton.

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