Newest Viking Desmond Bishop wasn’t happy with how Green Bay treated him prior to his release earlier this month and termed what he saw as “the writing on the wall” that he was heading out.
In an interview with the website Pro Football Talk Tuesday, Bishop said that the end of his Green Bay career started to bubble to the surface prior to April’s draft. Word got out that the Packers were actively shopping Bishop, but he didn’t put too much stock in it because misdirection and baseless rumors are part and parcel to the pre-draft process.
“I thought it was a rumor – I was told it was a rumor and don’t worry about it,” Bishop said. “When it initially came out, at first I figured that, with the exception of a couple of guys, everyone is pretty much tradable for the right price. I didn’t think much of it. But, as time went on, I started to see the writing on the wall a little bit that it’s part of the business.”
Bishop, who was sidelined last season with a severe hamstring injury, said the strange scenarios that were taking place at the Packers training facility set off a red flag with him. He was itching to get back on the field and reclaim his starting spot, but the Packers were holding him back. He saw that as being suspicious.
“When I was ready to start practicing, they wouldn’t let me go out to practice,” Bishop said. “I was cleared by the doctor and then, all of the sudden, it was like, ‘No wait, we’re going to hold you out a little longer.’ I don’t know if I was being paranoid, but it was just a weird vibe. It wasn’t the same.”
When Bishop hit the open market, several teams expressed an interest, including both Super Bowl teams – the Ravens and 49ers – as well as Jacksonville, Kansas City, the New York Giants, Indianapolis and other teams he couldn’t immediately remember. His decision to come to the Vikings was something that seemed like the best fit for him, as well as a motivation that likely won’t sit well with Packers fans.
“(It was) a combination of a lot of things,” Bishop said. “I’ve tried to explain it and some people don’t get it. I’ll try to explain it and I hope it doesn’t get taken out of proportion. I’m the type of player that feeds off of different types of motivation. The fact that the Vikings have never won a Super Bowl, something about that makes me want to go there and to try to help a team reach that pinnacle.”
Bishop said he always enjoyed playing the Vikings because he liked the challenge of playing against Adrian Peterson. He is now looking forward to going up against Aaron Rodgers, viewed by some as the best quarterback in the NFL.
“I played against him for a couple of years at practice,” Bishop said. “I know his strengths and he doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses.”
Much has been made about the transition Bishop will need to make moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense, but it’s something he believes is being overplayed. Prior to Dom Capers installing a 3-4 defense three years ago, Bishop was a 4-3 linebacker and, in the big picture, he has much more experience in a 4-3 scheme than a 3-4 alignment.
“I’m not worried at all,” Bishop said. “I played in a 4-3 all my life. I played college in 4-3 and my first couple of years in the league, I played in a 4-3. I just moved to a 3-4 my first time starting in 2010. That was the first time I ever played in a 3-4 and felt like I did pretty well. I don’t think the transition will be much at all.”
The big question facing Bishop and the Vikings is whether he will be asked to compete for the middle linebacker position or at outside linebacker. He hasn’t been informed as to what that plan will be and is ready to play wherever the Vikings deem he will be the best fit.
“They told me that all the positions are interchangeable,” Bishop said. “Nothing is set is stone. I’m versatile – I can play middle or the two outsides. We’ll see how that will unfold during training camp.”
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.