Photo by: GoDeepSports.com
The 2013 offseason in Minnesota Vikings camp has been as positive an offseason you can have. One move made the purple faithful collectively smile: the pickup of Desmond Bishop the middle linebacker from the Cheese-heads to the east. The 1-year deal included $1.35 million and a spot in the locker room of his long time career rival, the Minnesota Vikings. He shouldn’t be nervous after witnessing the wall get a little bloody in the light of Darren Sharper and Brett Favre a few years back. Should I continue with the success former Packer players have with the Vikings? I won’t even start on Ryan Longwell. I’m getting away from the point.Let me settle down a little and focus on the backer at hand. I wrote this piece a little after the deal buzz settled down for two reasons: so I can figure out the team’s plans for the “middle linebacker” and do some research for myself on Bishop. Here’s what I concluded:
Desmond Bishop is a versatile 7th year veteran, who up until last season was a solid day in and day out performer. His 2012 season was cut short with an injury he suffered during preseason, a ruptured hamstring tendon that needed surgery. After the Packers season was over, he was cut by the team. It was pretty clear that the Packers believe Bishop is more likely to be a mediocre free agent than a franchise middle linebacker. That has me fired up, and I’m sitting on the couch typing. You can hear the motivation in his voice in his interviews coming after the deal surfaced. He sounds like a man ready to win not just against his new rival Packers, but the rest of the league.
The Vikings didn’t go the middle linebacker route most thought they would in this year’s draft with Te’o on the board. So this one year deal is basically making up for that until they can get a stud in next year’s draft.
Desmond Bishop is leaping to Minnesota. Photo by: Benny Sieu
This makes sense when you are talking about a guy with 292 career tackles while being held back by injury. He has amassed eight forced fumbles as well in his playing time. In 2011 he had his best season with 90 tackles and five sacks while only playing in 13 games. The Vikings made sure they snagged him with teams like the Chiefs and Giants trying to get him. The reason this deal is so important to the coaches is he beat up on the Vikings every time they played in 2011. He had eight tackles in both of the games he played that season. If you can’t beat them join them or in this case take them. The same goes for the Jennings signing. If a guy beats you every season then get him on your team who both wants and needs their talent. If they are happy with the situation it gives them extra incentive to work their tales off to win the rivalry games.
The Vikings current plans still involve keeping Erin Henderson at MLB and move Desmond Bishop to outside linebacker in the 4-3 defense alongside both Henderson and Chad Greenway. The team along with Henderson believe he can be the anchor of the defense he was before he was rattled with injuries. The only thing that can hold up his success is his health. If he can play a full season I see a veteran who proved he still has a loaded arsenal. The same goes for the newly added Greg Jennings. This is a one year deal which makes it a contract year for him. This year can make or break the rest of his career.
This makes the most sense for both Bishop and the depth chart. If Henderson’s season is cut short for any reason, Bishop can move back to middle linebacker. Which opens up many possibilities for the team. Not to mention the developing monster that is Chad Greenway. This will all work out because when you have a guy who believes he can win somewhere because he is open and willing to work at other positions to help the team. The man is talking about being excited to play for his former team rival, that shows good character all in itself. I respect that and believe the odds are stacked more against Green Bay than in Minnesota. Sorry Green Bay but I think you just gave Minneapolis another winner.