Vikings' Wait for Bishop Rewarded

Bishop (Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports)

The Vikings had been "laying in wait" since word spread months ago that the Packers were parting ways with standout linebacker Desmond Bishop.

Desmond Bishop is the latest Green Bay Packers player to land in Minnesota, joining Greg Jennings, Brett Favre, Darren Sharper and Ryan Longwell as marquee performers making the short trip west.

The Vikings agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Bishop, agent Blake Baratz confirmed Monday on Twitter.

Bishop was released by the Green Bay Packers last Monday and traveled to Minnesota on Tuesday, conducting a workout in front of Minnesota's decision-makers on Wednesday.

"Good workout and we'll see. (We're) doing our due diligence in terms of bringing guys in that are free agents," defensive coordinator Alan Williams said last week. "The neat thing is that I don't have to make those decisions. I just have to coach them once they get here."

A source told Packer Report last week that Vikings general manager Rick Spielman had been "laying in wait" on the Packers' decision regarding Bishop. According to a source, the Packers began spreading the word back in March that Bishop would be out unless he accepted a pay cut of nearly two-thirds of his $3.464 million base salary. That talk came to a head during the NFL Draft, when Packer Report and other outlets learned that the Packers had put Bishop on the block.

Bishop replaced injured Nick Barnett in 2010 and wound up starting 12 games, tallying 121 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles. He signed a contract extension on Jan. 1, 2011, that was worth $17.823 million through 2014. Bishop led the team with 142 tackles and added five sacks in 2011, and had forced eight fumbles in five seasons. Bishop had cap numbers of $4.464 million in 2013 and $4.822 million in 2014. The Packers freed up cap space by releasing him, though they absorbed $1.6 million in prorated signing bonus.

Bishop missed the entire 2012 season with a significant hamstring injury. He told reporters in Green Bay 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 last week, the last on-field activities for them until training camp in late July.

He will also be making the transition from a 3-4 defense in Green Bay to the Vikings' 4-3 defense.

Bishop has started two seasons as an inside linebacker for the Packers and was their leading tackler in 2011, despite playing only 13 games, but Williams said he wasn't sure if Bishop would play outside or inside if the Vikings signed him.

Spielman is in charge of the roster, along with head coach Leslie Frazier. To date, Erin Henderson has been working on making the switch from weakside linebacker to middle linebacker, but that could change if Bishop is fully healthy at the start of training camp.

Bishop also visited the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday and drew interest from the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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