Monday, March 30, 2015
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desmond bishop

Immediately following the NFL Draft, no matter the year, fans eagerly fantasize about seeing what the new crop brings to the table.  This offseason, Vikings fans have been giddy about the prospects of the Penn State linebacker duo, consisting of Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti, and figured the relative lack of depth at the position would quickly see one of them forced into action.

They may end up having an impact in the NFL, and we all hope they are studs, but it now appears that their moment will have to wait for current group of formidable veterans to fizzle.

The strong side spot is manned by a Pro Bowl caliber talent in Chad Greenway, entering the third year of his $40.6 million contract, and that is unlikely to change barring an injury.

We entered this offseason unsure if unrestricted free agent Erin Henderson would be retained, but the Vikings showed confidence in his abilities by signing him to a two year deal worth $4 million.  They didn’t have enough confidence in his abilities, however, to keep them from signing recently released linebacker Desmond Bishop to a one-year deal.

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Recently released ex-Packers linebacker has signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings according to 1500 ESPN’s Tom Pelissero.

The 28-year-old linebacker missed all of last season to a hamstring injury. Bishop is expected to compete for a spot at middle or outside linebacker position and will assumedly start at one of the two.

Desmond Bishop is the second former Packers player the Vikings have signed this offseason at a position of need after the Vikings signed Greg Jennings earlier this offseason.

Due to my unexpected time off, I have yet to really weigh in on the Vikings interest in former Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop, who was a surprising offseason cut after he missed all of 2012 with a torn hamstring.

Bishop had been with the Packers since 2007 and started as an inside linebacker both in 2010 and 2011.  As a member of their 3-4 defense, Bishop really began to make a name for himself, but his hamstring injury derailed an entire season and now he is looking for work.  With reports swirling that he has offers from the Vikings, Chiefs, and Giants it is hard to imagine he’ll be unemployed very much longer.

The Vikings claim Bishop had a good workout with the team, which hopefully means trainer Eric Sugarman came away unconcerned about his health, and this speculation is another sign that Erin Henderson is destined to move back to his native position on the weakside.  Henderson, as we all know, is the current guy with his paws on the starting Mike job.  At a minimum, Bishop represents very significant competition at the position.

Of course, as Kevin Seifert wisely notes, assuming they aren’t looking to him as an outside linebacker might be a mistake.

Bishop turns 29 in about a month and his official profile says he stands at 6′ 2″ and weighs 238 pounds.  In five seasons he has started a total of 16 games, only once playing in every game of the season, and had a career high 115 combined tackles in 2011.  Over his career he has nine sacks, nine deflected passes, eight forced fumbles, and one interception (which he returned for a score).

Changing to a 4-3 scheme, as well as the injury concerns, could be a reason to have only cautious optimism that things will work out between the Vikings and Bishop.  Also, while he might represent an upgrade over some current options at the middle linebacker spot, Bishop isn’t exactly a game-changer in any facet of the game.  He is more your solid and dependable guy that does a decent job with gap discipline and sound fundamentals.

On the other hand, Spielman may look like a genius for waiting so long to find a middle linebacker, as he is arguably the best one to be available in free agency this offseason.  Karlos Dansby’s decline, Larry Grant’s suspension, and Rolando McClain’s bizarre personal life are all reasons to call Bishop the guy with the highest ceiling of this offseason’s choices.

The Vikings are thought to have about $7.13 million in current cap space.  That should be plenty to sign all three of their first round draft picks (the rest of their draft class is already signed) and also bring in a veteran or two, such as Bishop.

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