Bishop adjusting but sees more potential

Desmond Bishop said the Vikings' style of defense was his hardest adjustment and he believes better days ahead with his health. But he isn't assuming anything with his status on the team.

Desmond Bishop is pushing for a starting spot but making no assumptions about what his future with the Minnesota Vikings holds.

He's been a starter before with the Green Bay Packers – starting 26 of 69 regular-season games and five of seven playoff games. But that was also the team that released him this summer.

Keeping that in mind put his answer in perspective when asked about his potential to be the Vikings' starting weakside linebacker.

"I don't assume any more. I learned that nothing is guaranteed. I definitely don't have a sense of entitlement with all that stuff I can't control. The only thing I can control is what I do on game day. That's all I focus on," he said Tuesday.

"I definitely can handle (being a starter). That's not my call to put me in as a starter or not. I don't make that decision."

A torn hamstring during last year's training camp with the Green Bay Packers caused a turn in his career. After leading the team in tackles in 2011, he was forced to spend 2012 on season-ending injured reserve.

The Packers released him in June, but the Vikings didn't sign him in time to get him any work during organized team activies or minicamp. A groin injury early in training camp further set back his progress when he was held out of the preseason opener.

In the second preseason game, he was given 26 snaps, or 33 percent of the defensive plays. That increased Sunday night as he was given more time with the first-team defense, playing in 33 defensive snaps (44 percent).

"Every time you get an opportunity to get on the field – especially in games but in practice as well – that's an audition. I definitely was auditioning," Bishop said of aiming to reclaim a starting job in the NFL.

He is getting closer to that goal and performed well Sunday night. He led the Vikings with nine tackles, including two for losses.

"He was much better in this ballgame than he was the previous week against Buffalo, which you would expect him to be a little bit better," head coach Leslie Frazier said. "We're going to play him on Thursday night and you'd hope he'd get better again, just continue to improve. He showed some things. We've just got to be able to put him out there and put him in situations and see how he does, but I was impressed with some of the things he did in that ballgame."

Bishop said he is adjusting to life with the Vikings pretty quickly after playing with the Packers since 2007. But the challenges of the transition went beyond the change of address.

He and the Vikings both downplayed the obstacle of him moving from being a 3-4 inside linebacker to 4-3 outside linebacker, but Bishop admitted Tuesday there is one big challenge with his change in teams.

"I think just going to a true zone attitude where you always keep your eyes on the quarterback, where previously it was mostly man where you keep your eyes on your man. I think for me that's the hardest thing," he said.

There is also the adjustment to how coaches call the schemes and what to expect, but Bishop said all of those adjustments improve with increased repetition.

As for his health, he believes he will only improve his performance with time.

"I feel good. I'm fully healed," he said, but then added: "I still have a lot of potential as far as regaining a lot of strength and speed back. I think I'm in a good place."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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