Following are some whispers that we've been hearing from around the NFC North:
• Our sources in Green Bay agree that it's either poor practice habits or a failure to grasp assignments that have recently turned rookie RB James Starks into a relative nonfactor behind Dimitri Nance. Starks' impressive pro debut against the Niners in Week 13 had made it seem as though he could be on the cusp of a major breakthrough, but that hasn't been the case at all.
• Getting a Pro Bowl nod for his outstanding play on special teams would have been a nice addition to Bears CB Corey Graham's résumé heading into free agency, but he didn't make the team. He's only 25 and has value as a special-teams ace and a solid backup corner, so the Bears will have to compete with other interested clubs to keep him around.
• Lions LB Landon Johnson ended the season on injured reserve and might not return to the team. He suffered his third concussion of the season and was replaced ably by Bobby Carpenter, although the future of that position is hardly settled in Detroit. The Lions will look to upgrade at linebacker in the offseason, and Johnson could be out of the picture.
• Vikings RS Lorenzo Booker has made a mostly good impression in his few weeks with the team and appeared to do enough in his short time to convince the team he should get another crack in 2011. Booker supplanted Percy Harvin as the kickoff returner, and though Harvin can expect to regain those duties at least part time next season, Booker might earn a role as the third back and a key special-teamer.