The Lions announced Tuesday that they traded wide receiver Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
“On behalf of our entire organization, I would like to sincerely thank Golden for his countless contributions to our team during his time as a Detroit Lion,” general manager Bob Quinn said in a statement following the trade.
“For more than four years Golden displayed an unwavering commitment to not only his coaches and teammates, but also the City of Detroit. The impact he made on and off the field set an example for our team and serves as a testament to his character.
“We wish Golden and his family the very best in the next step of his career.”
Tate will be missed in Detroit, but the players know they need to turn their focus to the division matchup in Minnesota this Sunday.
“Next guy up,” cornerback Quandre Diggs said. “That’s the motto that’s been going around football forever. Of course we’ll miss him, but Minnesota don’t care about if we’ll be missing Golden.”
Tate’s departure will provide an opportunity for other players on the roster to play a bigger role on offense. One of those players could be veteran wide receiver TJ Jones. Jones caught a career-high 30 passes for 399 yards last season.
“I think we’re all going to step up,” Jones said. “There’s a lot of touches and responsibility that needs to be spread out amongst everyone in the offense. It’s up to us to handle it.
“Take your responsibility, your part, whatever your role may be, and do it to the best of your ability.”
To fill Tate’s spot on the roster, the Lions signed free agent linebacker Kelvin Sheppard Wednesday before practice.
MATCHING UP WITH MINNESOTA
This week’s matchup in Minnesota will be the Lions’ second division game of the season, and it comes at a crucial point in the year.
“I love division games,” Vikings guard Tom Compton told the St. Paul Pioneer-Press. “They’re a lot more intense and they definitely mean a little more, so we’ve just got to get on our things and get ready to go.
“It’s still a little early to tell who’s kind of the top dog (in the NFC North), but I think after (November), you’ll kind of get a good idea.”
The Vikings have been hampered by injuries early this season, but could be getting some players back this week, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. It will also be defensive end Everson Griffen’s second game back with Minnesota after taking a month off for his mental health.
“Everson’s always a guy who’s going to hit the ground running,” Zimmer said. “You’re out of football for four weeks, or whatever it was – it’s different conditioning in running, lifting weights and all that.
“Then you go out and you’re playing football. I would think there were some plays he wishes he had over, and there were some good plays as well.”
For Mike O’Hara’s full scouting report on the Vikings, click here.
Defensive tackle Damon Harrison will be appearing in his second game as a Lion this weekend. What can we expect from him?
Well, in his first Lions game playing limited snaps, he recorded seven solo tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack.
Time will tell, but if last week was any indication, he should be fun to watch.