Desmond Bishop played inside linebacker in the Green Bay Packers’ 3-4 defensive scheme, but he will start training camp with the Minnesota Vikings as their weakside linebacker.
Bishop signed with the Vikings on June 24, after their final minicamp practice so the Vikings first practice at training camp Friday will be Bishop’s first with the team.
“Having a veteran that has experience in this league, hopefully he will shore up our linebacker depth as well,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said after arriving in Mankato for the start of training camp. “The accomplishment that he brings, the leadership that he brings and his talent, hopefully he will round out our linebacker corps.”
But besides making the switch from Green Bay to Minnesota, Bishop will transition from inside to outside, taking over Erin Henderson’s weakside linebacker spot while Henderson, who has more experience in the Vikings’ system, continues his transition to middle linebacker.
“We think for us that’s the best position for him and getting the best 11 on the field. Based at what we looked at on tape, we think that’s the best position for him. We could modify that a bit, but that’s where we want to start,” Frazier said.
“One of the things I liked was the fact that he’s a good blitzer and has some good athletic ability. That’s what we try to find in our outside backers. You’ve got to be able to win one on one with halfbacks and fullbacks and be good in coverage as well and take on lead blockers and he’s shown he can do that.”
Bishop was quick to point out that he played in a 4-3 scheme in college at California and made the switch to the Packers’ 3-4 defense.
“All defenses are different, but my entire life I played in a 4-3. I just recently switched to a 3-4 and everyone’s asking how I’m going to adjust to a 3-4. It was pretty simple and switching back to a 4-3 won’t be too hard,” he said.
Bishop started two seasons as an inside linebacker for the Packers and was their leading tackler in 2011, despite playing only 13 games. He missed the entire 2012 season with a significant hamstring injury that he says is now healthy.
“I’ve put myself through some workouts and I’ve tested it and done as much as I possibly can,” Bishop said. “I’m 110 percent positive that it’s going to hold up, no limitations.”
Early in Green Bay’s spring workouts, Bishop told reporters that he was 100 percent healthy this offseason, but he also didn’t participate in any of the Packers’ organized team activities or their minicamp before the team released him.
The Vikings brought him in for a workout and physical, and signed him to a one-year deal with a $750,000 base salary that could be worth up to $1.35 million based on playing-time incentives.
WR Greg Childs is the only Viking likely to start training camp on the physically unable to perform list, according to Frazier. Childs is recovering from surgery to repair both patellar tendons after he tore them last August during a training camp scrimmage.
The team starts with a one-hour walk-through practice Friday morning at 10:30 a.m., followed by a full practice starting at 2:30 p.m.
The Vikings won’t start practicing in pads until Monday, per rules of the collective bargaining agreement.
Center John Sullivan, who had microfracture surgery in February, is expected to practice from the outset of camp, although his snaps will be monitored closely and likely limited early.
“We think he’s going to be ready to go. We don’t foresee any changes from what we talked about a few days ago. We will have to monitor his reps,” Frazier said. “We won’t just throw him in there and take every rep. We’re going to bring him along and he’s got to have confidence in that knee. But we don’t see any reason why we won’t play him in the preseason.”
Adrian Peterson won’t get many preseason carries, Frazier said. The Vikings are looking to save on Peterson’s wear and tear after he had a grueling rehabilitation regimen during the 2012 offseason as he recovered from surgery to repair the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee. He didn’t play at all in the preseason last year and still managed to rush for 2,097 yards, just 8 yards short of the all-time single-season record.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.