Bishop to visit Vikings after Packers release

Linebacker Desmond Bishop will visit the Vikings on Tuesday, he told ESPN Wisconsin, confirming a league source's report of Rick Spielman's interest.

The Vikings could be ready to sign a free agent linebacker after all, but it's not Brian Urlacher, as off-based rumors last month suggested.

This time, the rumors are being confirmed in several directions. A league source said the Vikings have been interested in Bishop since it became apparent he wasn't in the Packers' long-term plans, and shortly after his release by Green Bay on Monday, Bishop to ESPN Milwaukee he will visit the Vikings on Tuesday.

The inside linebacker missed the entire 2012 season with an injured hamstring. That injury occurred in the preseason opener and he didn't practice with the Packers in the last two months of organized team activities or minicamp, which was just finished in Green Bay last week.

"So much fun, so many memories (and) friendships forged in Green Bay," Bishop wrote on Twitter. "Ups (and) downs, wins (and) losses! Even a (Super Bowl) XLV championship. Forever grateful."

The Vikings have a recent history of signing former Packers, including Brett Favre and more recently receiver Greg Jennings, who was signed to a five-year, $45 million contract in March.

General manager Rick Spielman is believed to be at the forefront of the Vikings' interest.

For the second straight season, the Vikings don't have their starting middle linebacker from the previous season returning. Minnesota elected not to re-sign E.J. Henderson following the 2011 season, giving that duty to Jasper Brinkley last year. Brinkley signed with the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent in March, and Erin Henderson, E.J.'s younger brother, has been practicing as the middle linebacker during organized team activities that wrapped up last week.

The Vikings start their three-day minicamp Tuesday, which is the last of their practices until they start training camp on July 26, so if their interest in Bishop materializes quickly, they may have him on the practice field for minicamp duty.

His health could be a determining factor in the Vikings' ultimate decision. In addition to his hamstring injury, Bishop missed three games in 2011 with an injured calf.

Despite missing that time two years ago, Bishop led the Packers with 142 tackles (safety Morgan Burnett was second with 107). Bishop also produced five sacks and two forced fumbles in 2011.

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.

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