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NFC Notes: Recent Updates on Kirk Cousins, Ryan Poles, Bears, Packers, and Vikings

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Bears

Bears DC Matt Eberflus seems to have made a compelling case to save his job with Chicago’s performance down the stretch this year. The Bears weathered a ton of controversy to start the season, including DC Alan Williams being dismissed, but once Eberflus took the wheel on defense, the improvement was dramatic. Chicago finished the season 7-6 and on an upward trajectory.

“You can go back to the original press conference and things that I was looking for, and one is leadership and the mental toughness and the steady hand to really captain the ship when the seas are rough. And they got rough at certain times, certainly, last year. Early this year, there was some sudden change,” Bears GM Ryan Poles said before Week 18’s loss to the Packers via the Athletic’s Adam Jahns. “And he was steady at the wheel. He fought to get back above water and get things to the way they were. His ability to adapt and adjust and really take input from the players to get this thing on the right path was incredible. Where I think a lot of people would have been in really bad shape and crumbled to the pressure, he got better with the pressure, and so did our football team.”

“I feel like they should for sure, especially the way we played on defense,” Bears S Jaquan Brisker added. “Coach Flus, definitely, he did his thing. The turnovers. The way this defense … ended up coming together and things like that. The coaching staff, the secondary coaches, those coaches kept us together.”

  • NBC Sports’ Peter King expects the Bears to trade the No. 1 overall pick for a huge ransom rather than use it on a new quarterback but admits it’s too early to say definitively what Chicago will do.

Packers

Vikings

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins didn’t dismiss the possibility of taking a discount to remain in Minnesota.

That’s a great question and one I’ve thought about pretty much my whole 12 years,” Cousins said, via ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. “I do think it’s important to be aware of. I think that God has blessed me financially beyond my wildest dreams. So at this stage in my career, the dollars are really not what it’s about.

Cousins offered a story that could provide insight on how he views whatever contract the Vikings end up offering him.

I had a coach who I was with who was a younger coach at the time,” Cousins said. “This was back eight, nine years ago, before my first franchise tag, and we were talking about the situation and he made a great comment. He said, ‘Kirk, it’s not about the dollars, but it is about what the dollars represent.’ I thought that was an interesting comment that he made. There will always be some of that.

Cousins added that the structure of his contract is probably more important.

Everything that isn’t the dollars. That stuff you also work through.”

Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said that they plan on approaching Cousins and hopefully coming together on a deal this offseason.

I mean, Kirk played great,” Adofo-Mensah said at the time. “I think my want for Kirk to come back isn’t just a ‘me’ thing. You know, it’s a negotiation. You come together at the table, and you try and see if everything works together, and we’ll have that dialogue when the time comes.

Vikings RT Brian O’Neill said he hopes that Cousins is back in Minnesota and said the team as a whole wants him back next season.

He wasn’t the first overall pick,” O’Neill said. “He’s not 6-8. He doesn’t run a 4.2. But he maximizes 100 percent of everything he’s given, and that story’s relatable for a lot of guys. Regardless of what everybody in the world, whatever they believe or whatever their purpose is or their moral compass or how they go about their life, their philosophy, I think people can look at Kirk and say, whatever his is, he lives that fully, 100 percent every day, and he’s more true to himself than most people I’ve ever met. He’s true to himself in his preparation and his belief, and he’s a baller.”

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