Desmond Bishop officially signed his contract with the Vikings Thursday and, as he becomes the latest former Packer to head west across the border to Minnesota, he fielded some questions from the local Vikings media concerning his move from Green Bay to the Vikings.
Bishop has been making news for following in the footsteps of players like Brett Favre, Darren Sharper, Ryan Longwell and Greg Jennings that have found greener pastures later in their careers in purple and gold. That has been a bigger story than his return from a hamstring injury that robbed him of his 2012 season. In a national interview earlier in the week, the one comment that got the most attention was that he was looking forward to playing against Aaron Rodgers. He clarified Thursday that his interest in playing Rodgers is just out of his competitive nature, not any personal animosity.
"When I said that, I didn't mean for that to get blown out of proportion," Bishop said. "I'm just a competitive guy. Aaron Rodgers is considered the best in my eyes at quarterback so it would be a good opportunity to play him just like when the hands were turned I got the chance to play against Adrian Peterson."
The bigger concern for the Vikings is that Bishop will be ready when the Vikings open training camp in Mankato next month. He's given himself a clean bill of health – "I will be 100 percent ready to go," he said – but his rehab process has been a long and arduous one. After missing the entire 2012 season, Bishop knows it will take time to shake off the rust from not playing the game for 18 months, but like so many other injured players, he has found motivation from one his new teammates.
Asked how long it will take him to get back into the flow of the grueling NFL season, Bishop said he's ready and his confidence is growing.
"I'm not sure, but after watching a guy by the name of Adrian Peterson come back from his torn ACL and how well he did, I have an extreme amount of confidence that I can do the same," Bishop said.
Like Peterson, Bishop's injury was devastating. He suffered a completely torn hamstring, which not only prevented him from running, but doing most of the other strength and conditioning work that NFL players do throughout the year. The road to recovery has been a long one that he hasn't reached the end of yet – although it is in sight.
"It took about six or seven months before I could start getting after it," Bishop said. "It's still a process. After six or seven months, you're able to run, but you've still got to build on your strength, your endurance and all those little things. You can never max out on that stuff. I'm still to this day working on trying to get as strong as I can and I feel really good."
With Bishop satisfied he will be good to go when the Vikings start tuning up for the regular season, the only question that remains is what position he will play. The Vikings are looking for a new middle linebacker after Jasper Brinkley left via free agency and the initial plan was to have Erin Henderson take over the position his brother E.J. manned for the better part of a decade. Bishop will be in the mix for that position, but will be comfortable wherever he plays because none of the three linebacker spots in the Vikings' 4-3 defense will be something new to him.
"I've played pretty much all three (linebacker) positions at one time in my football career," Bishop said. "I'm familiar with them all."
While the jury is still out as to who will be the starting middle linebacker and who lines up on weak side, Bishop isn't sure what his role is. All he knows is that he's ready to play wherever the Vikings line him up and show the Packers they made a mistake by letting him go.
"We haven't really talked much in detail about it," Bishop said. "I just know that the positions are pretty much interchangeable. But I'm not really worried about that. Wherever they put me, wherever the coaching staff best sees me fit, that's where I'll play. I'll work hard and do my best at it."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.
Bishop says he will be ‘100 percent ready'
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