Here are some of the whispers we've been hearing around the NFC North this week:
The Lions love their new Swiss Army knife, Spencer Havner. He's being tried at linebacker — the position he's listed at on their roster — but also can play tight end (four of his seven receptions with the Packers last season were touchdowns) and fullback. The Lions think he can be a do-it-all player, including his expected work on special teams, and it doesn't hurt that he came from a division rival, either.
Husain Abdullah is the Vikings' starting strong safety going forward. So said head coach Brad Childress following the team's Week One loss to the Saints. Many thought Abdullah would be a placeholder at the spot because his better-than-average coverage skills would help make up for the lack of healthy cornerbacks on the roster for the game. But Childress appeared to back Abdullah going forward over Tyrell Johnson and Jamarca Sanford, who spent most of the summer battling for the starting spot.
According to our Packers sources, the turning point in the neck-and-neck battle for the starting punter job between winner Tim Masthay and Australian Chris Bryan was a punt by Masthay in the third preseason game against Indianapolis that had a jaw-dropping 5.06-second hang time and triggered a punt-return fumble by the Colts.
The Bears demoted QB Caleb Hanie to third string when they signed QB Todd Collins, but a source wouldn't rule out the two players switching spots on the depth chart when Hanie is completely recovered from a shoulder injury.
We're told Packers rookie free-agent C-OG Nick McDonald's toughness probably earned him a surprise roster spot. Daily team observers tell us McDonald just never quit in camp and was duly rewarded.
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