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NFC NORTH: What the general managers are saying

INDIANAPOLIS – The first day of media access at the NFL Scouting Combine was reserved for general managers and coaches from around the league, including those from the NFC North.

So what did the four general managers from Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota and Chicago have to say about the current state of their respective franchises?


Issue: How will the Packers attack free agency?

The skinny: Draft. Develop. Keep. It's been the "Packer Way" for years, and general manager Ted Thompson plans to continue the recipe that's been very good for Green Bay.

Thompson and the Packers are notorious for prioritizing the re-signing of their own free agents that they know and have developed, rather then spending big money – and in most cases overpaying – in free agency.

Thompson will have some tough decisions to make with a number of impact players on his roster set to become free agents. That list includes names like T.J. Lang, Sam Shields, Nick Perry, Julius Peppers, Eddie Lacy and others.

What they said: "That's our intention and it's our intention every year," Thompson said of prioritizing his own free agents first and foremost. "I stand on this podium I think every year and say the same thing. Our best intentions are to sign as many of our own players as we can and keep it together.

"I think our players appreciate the fact that the organization tries its best to try and keep their own players. I think our former players and current players appreciate that." DETROIT

Issue: Will Lions GM Bob Quinn pursue big-name free agents?

The skinny: In Quinn's first go-around at free agency last offseason, he went after Marvin Jones Jr., the top receiver available, on the first day of free agency, but then mostly went after mid-level players to add roster depth.

Will Quinn be a player for some of the top names out there this year like linebacker Dont'a Hightower, cornerback A.J. Bouye, defensive end Calais Campbell or defensive tackle Brandon Williams?

What they said: "I think there's some, those top-end guys that we would like to take a shot at, but I think I said this last year," Quinn said. "Like, you look at the list today and it could be vastly different a week from now because all these franchise guys are getting signed to their tenders and, you know, guys are getting re-signed to their own teams.

"So the list that we're working off might be totally different a week from now, but we've done our research, we've done a lot of work in the last couple months and even back during the season. So I feel we're well-prepared whichever way we go."


Issue: Is there a future for Adrian Peterson in Minnesota?

The skinny: After a decade of terrorizing the NFC North as the face of the Vikings, Peterson will hit the free-agent market for the first time in his illustrious career, as the team has opted not to pick up his 2017 option.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said he's open for Peterson to return, but will have to wait and see what the market is for him and how much cap room the team will have after addressing some other needs first.

What they said: "I talked to Adrian and was very specific with him. I was there when we drafted Adrian. I talked to his representative as well. I just believe in putting everything upfront and on the table. I told him there are some areas that we'd like to address. The one thing you can't predict is what the market is going to be. You may have expectations today, but those expectations all the sudden change within a week.

"I don't know how all the pieces are going to fit in place from a financial standpoint. But we are very open, just like we are with all of our players, to have our players back if we can."


Issue: Will Alshon Jeffery be back in Chicago?

The skinny: Bears general manager Ryan Pace opted not to place the franchise tag on Jeffery, which will allow him to test the free-agent market as the top receiver available.

When healthy, Jeffery put up 1,421 yards (2013) and 1,133 yards (2014), but he's missed 11 games due to injury the last two seasons combined.

Still, his combination of size and speed is extremely enticing. In seven career games against Detroit, Jeffery has caught 44 passes for 633 yards and five touchdowns.

What they said: "I think sometimes when you can't come to a common ground with a player and an agent, sometimes it's necessary to kind of test the market to determine that player's value, and that's really where we're at," Pace told the Chicago Tribune Wednesday of Jeffery.

"He's a good player, and we'll see how it plays out. But I think there are certain instances where testing the market is a necessary part of the process."

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