Around the NFC North: The Division of Rebuilds

Which NFC North teams are rebuilding? 

This again? Trillions of words have been spilled in recent weeks about whether or not the Packers are rebuilding, and it gets you thinking, "Are all of the NFC North teams rebuilding?" Last year's best team in the division is still actively divesting assets. the favorite for 2023 is still sporting a career journeyman at QB, and the other team is the Bears. Let's discuss whether each of the NFC North teams is actively in a rebuild. 

Chicago Bears

Might as well start with the easiest one, though you could probably say the Bears are in more of a build than rebuild since they haven't been good in about a decade. The Bears lack talented players at almost every level on both sides of the ball. They didn't really have a pro-bowl-level talent anywhere last season and they'll maybe have one at linebacker or guard this year. Not exactly the most critical positions. 

The Bears also may have the most complicated rebuild going. One with two potential futures: with and without Justin Fields. Over the next season or two, the most important thing for them to do is see if Justin Fields is a viable NFL QB. If he isn't they need to move on and start a new rebuild. 

Of course, they should still try to beef up their defensive line, find some more receivers, get another tackle, and sign three more corners, but the main thing forever NFL team is figuring out QB. 

Detroit Lions

If you count the number of people who argued about whether the Packers are in a rebuild over the past few weeks, you'd get about 10% of the number who have excitedly jumped onto the Lions bandwagon this offseason. And, sure, it seems like an appealing place at first glance. The team had a top-5 offense last year, they have a fun head coach, their GM seems to make good moves, and the defense improved over the season. 

The Lions might win the division (a division full of rebuilders) next season, but I think the media needs to slow their roll. The Lions are knee-deep in QB purgatory and they don't even have a great defense to prop up the offense. Instead, they have a mediocre at-best defense and an offense that will most likely regress this season. The Lions may have done a good job rebuilding so far, but they are certainly not done yet. 

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are sort of the future version of the Lions. They've labored for years with a league-average QB and some good pieces around him. In years where their OC or DC is a plus play caller, they do very well and make the playoffs. In other years, they get destroyed by the Packers and fire their head coach. 

Right now they're stuck between a rock and Kirk Cousins. They don't have the cap space to make the moves that would really push them over the edge to super bowl contender and they'll be too good to be high up enough in the draft to get a premier rookie QB. And even if they did get a premier rookie QB, most of the good players are either already gone (Za'Darius Smith, Dalvin Cook, Eric Kendricks), on the way out (Danielle Hunter), or ancient (Harrison Smith). 

They have the makings of a great young core with players like Christian Darrisaw, Justin Jefferson, and TJ Hockenson, they just don't have the ammo to get all the way there.

Maybe you wouldn't call where the Vikings are a rebuild, but if you were a Vikings fan, you'd probably wish you could.   




Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan who recently moved form Utah to Stoughton (a Madison suberb). You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.


4 points

Comments (8)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
stockholder's picture

June 12, 2023 at 05:15 pm

Well if you have the #1 , #15, # !8, And #23 picks.
You might be a Rebuilder.
Maybe those Teams need a sign?
But you can’t fix stupid.
Just Get R Done.
Go Packers!

1 points
croatpackfan's picture

June 12, 2023 at 06:17 pm

Nice overview!

As we (fans) already stated, NFCN is weak and open division. As I hear and read about NFCN, the highest hopes and hype are inside Bears fans. Second are Lions fans, believing they are now front runners for NFCN. Viking fans are more worried, but still believe that they can win division this season again.

What is common to fan base of all 3 franchize is that they are not counting for Packers. How coaching staffs and players from those 3 franchize look at their possibility is a beautiful mystery.

I believe that many of them will be unpleasently surprise after season ends.

Go Pack Go!

5 points
SicSemperTyrannis's picture

June 12, 2023 at 10:52 pm

I get a kick out of reading all these guys thinking they know what's going to happen. Maybe they're right about how our own 53 man roster is filling out, but that doesn't need to be determined until August 29th. Plenty of chances to evaluate before then.

Those guys learning to play like a team is one thing. Seeing how they fare against other teams is a completely different matter. I for one have no desire to rush this process. Mini-camp this week, lots of time to absorb whatever they need to learn at home and final conditioning, then coming back to training camp and preseason all needs to be transformative to all 3 phases. This team can maybe be one of the most improved teams in the league if all this is done masterfully. I still wouldn't expect an especially competitive team, but there might be tons of pleasant surprises?


4 points
croatpackfan's picture

June 13, 2023 at 04:44 am

"This team can maybe be one of the most improved teams in the league if all this is done masterfully. I still wouldn't expect an especially competitive team, but there might be tons of pleasant surprises?"

I agree with you and that is why I wrote and BELIEVE. NOT CLAIMING that others from NFCN might be unpleasently surprised: "I believe that many of them will be unpleasently surprise after season ends."

2 points
greengold's picture

June 13, 2023 at 05:00 am

Exactly. There will be surprises all over. Young, untested talent abounds on this team. Some of them in their Year 2!

It’s now up to Matt LaFleur’s entire coaching staff to get the utmost from our players.

2 points
TxFred's picture

June 12, 2023 at 07:29 pm

Lions are the new team thats hates the Pack, as much as the Arlington Bears (ha). Campbell will get his lot fired up for the Pack. A ton of hateful rivals, in the division, as well it should. Don't call it "The black 'n blue division" for nothing. Fun to watch this year. GPG!!!

3 points
jont's picture

June 13, 2023 at 05:42 pm

How would I read this if I weren't a die hard Packer fan? I mean, if we had mass hysteria-- real wrath-of-God type stuff with dogs and cats sleeping together-- and I were a fan of one these other teams, which of these reviews would be promising news and give me hope?

It's not the Lions because 9-8 is only good if you have only one winning season under legal drinking age. The Bears are now literally the worst, and the Vikings are still exactly who they've always been. Nope, don't want to be any of these.

The rosters overall look fairly comparable, and in a QB-driven league Green Bay is the only team with one who has a legitimate shot at being their QB of the future.

0 points
Leatherhead's picture

June 13, 2023 at 06:46 pm

Bears, Vikings, and Lions were all at the bottom of defensive rankings in multiple categories. I don't think any of them are better than they were a year ago. The Vikings defense will probably be worse.

Cousins took a bunch of sacks. .......did Minnesota improve the blocking? No, they burned their one premium pick on a superduper WR to line up with Jefferson. They cut their primary RB. The Bears......I'm not sure what the hell they're doing. If their plan is to just let Fields run around and "make plays", they might as well give up now. They got Tonyan to pair with Kmet, and I think you're going to see some old style offense in Chicago this year, especially given the success that Hurts had last year. But they have to improve quite a bit to be a .500 team. I wish them luck. I always root for them, except two times a year.

Everybody love the Lions. It'll be fun watching them crash that bandwagon.

3 points